A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory, Second Edition

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a dictionary of CULTURAL AND CRITICAL THEORY Second Edition



Simon Frith Henry Louis Gates, Jr David Rasmussen Janet Todd

A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication


Second Edition

a dictionary of CULTURAL AND CRITICAL THEORY Second Edition



Simon Frith Henry Louis Gates, Jr David Rasmussen Janet Todd

A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication

This second edition first published 2010 © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, except for editorial material and organization © 2010 Michael Payne and Jessica Rae Barbera; “Ordinary Language Criticism” © 2010 Toril Moi; “Graphic Narrative” © 2010 Hillary Chute (adapted from “Comics as Literature?: Reading Graphic Narrative” © 2008 MLA) Edition history: Blackwell Publishing Ltd (1e, 1996) Blackwell Publishing was acquired by John Wiley & Sons in February 2007. Blackwell’s publishing program has been merged with Wiley’s global Scientific, Technical, and Medical business to form Wiley-Blackwell. Registered Office John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, United Kingdom Editorial Offices 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148-5020, USA 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services, and for information about how to apply for permission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at www.wiley.com/wiley-blackwell. The right of Michael Payne and Jessica Rae Barbera to be identified as the author of the editorial material in this work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks. All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The publisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A dictionary of cultural and critical theory / edited by Michael Payne and Jessica Rae Barbera. – 2nd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4051-6890-8 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Culture–Dictionaries. 2. Critical theory–Dictionaries. I. Payne, Michael, 1941– II. Barbera, Jessica Rae. HM621.D53 2010 306.03–dc22 2009047990 A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Set in 9.5/11.5pt Minion by Graphicraft Limited, Hong Kong Printed in Singapore 1



List of Contributors


Preface to the First Edition (1996)


Preface to the Second Edition (2010)






A–Z entries







Teresa Amott Hobart and William Smith College

Andrew Bowie Royal Holloway College

R. Lanier Anderson Stanford University

†Malcolm Bowie (Christ’s College, Cambridge)

Oliver Arnold Princeton University

Mary Ellen Bray Rutgers University

Robin Attfield University of Wales, Cardiff

Joseph Bristow University of California Los Angeles

David Ayers University of Kent

Michael Byram University of Durham

Chris Baldick Goldsmith’s College, London

John Callaghan University of Wolverhampton

Jessica Rae Barbera University of Pittsburgh

Colin Campbell University of York

Susan E. Bassnett University of Warwick

Douglas Candland Bucknell University

Robert Beard Bucknell University

Glynis Carr Bucknell University

Andrew Belsey University of Wales, Cardiff

Erica Carter University of Warwick

James R. Bennett University of Arkansas

Stanley Cavell Harvard University

Ian H. Birchall Middlesex University

Howard Caygill Goldsmiths College, London

Julian Bourg Bucknell University

Lynn Cazabon University of Maryland, Baltimore County

vii Richard Fleming Bucknell University

Danielle Clarke University College Dublin

Pauline Fletcher Bucknell University

Greg Clingham Bucknell University

Simon Frith Edinburgh University

Bethany J. Collier Bucknell University

Jeanne Garane University of South Carolina

Steven Connor Birkbeck College, London

Susanne Gibson University of Wales, Cardiff

David E. Cooper University of Durham

Tara G. Gilligan Lafayette College

Simon Critchley New School for Social Research and University of Tilburg

David Theo Goldberg University of California, Irvine

Shadia B. Drury University of Regina Madhu Dubey Northwestern University William Duckworth Bucknell University Jonathan Dunsby Eastman School of Music

Thomas C. Greaves Bucknell University Michael Green University of Birmingham Glyne A. Griffith University of Albany – SUNY Peter S. Groff Bucknell University

Alan Durant Middlesex University

M.A.R. Habib Rutgers University, Camden

Gerald Eager Bucknell University

Stephen Heath Jesus College, Cambridge

Andrew Edgar University of Wales, Cardiff

Glen A. Herdling Marvel Comics, New York

Gregory Elliott Brighton

William G. Holzberger Bucknell University

Uzoma Esonwanne St Mary’s University, Halifax

Paul Innes University of Glasgow

†Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (DePaul University)

Shannon Jackson Harvard University

Xing Fan Bucknell University

John J. Joyce Nazareth College at Rochester

Susan L. Fischer Bucknell University

May Joseph New York University

Leonore Fleming Duke University

Evelyne Keitel Technische Universität, Chemnitz


Hillary Chute Harvard University


viii Frank Kermode King’s College, Cambridge

John V. Murphy Bucknell University

Peter Karl Kresl Bucknell University

Paul Norcross University of Chichester

Valerie Krips University of Pittsburgh

Christopher Norris University of Wales, Cardiff

Julia Kristeva University of Paris VII

G. Dennis O’Brien Middlebury, VT

Sarah N. Lawall University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Tucker Orbison Bucknell University

Linden Lewis Bucknell University

Peter Osborne University of Middlesex

Erik R. Lofgren Bucknell University David Macey Leeds Janet MacGaffey Bucknell University

Oyekan Owomoyela University of Nebraska Kathleen Page Bucknell University Kate Parker Washington University, St Louis

Kirsten Malmkjær Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics, Cambridge

Karl Patten Bucknell University

Joseph Margolis Temple University

Edward Payne Courtauld Institute of Art

Ben Marsh Bucknell University

Michael Payne Bucknell University

Colin McCabe University of Pittsburgh

Jean Peterson Bucknell University

Graham McCann King’s College, Cambridge

Christina Phillips Harvard University

Andrew McNeillie Oxford University Press, Oxford

James Phillips Trinity University, San Antonio

J.N. Mohanty Temple University

Meenakshi Ponnuswami Bucknell University

Toril Moi Duke University

Alice J. Poust Bucknell University

Peter Morris-Keitel Bucknell University

Kendal Rautzhan Lewisburg, PA

Keith Morrison University of Durham

Laurence J. Ray University of Lancaster

Laura Mulvey British Film Institute

Vasudevi Reddy University of Portsmouth

ix Gary Steiner Bucknell University

John S. Rickard Bucknell University

Douglas Sturm Bucknell University

K.K. Ruthven University of Melbourne

Radhika Subramaniam New York University

Aparajita Sagar Purdue University

†Tony Tanner (King’s College, Cambridge)

Raphael Salkie University of Brighton

Helen Taylor University of Warwick

Matthias Schubnell The College of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio

Demetrius Teigas Deree College, Athens

Harold Schweizer Bucknell University

Janet Todd Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge

Peter R. Sedgwick University of Wales, Cardiff

J.B. Trapp Warburg Institute

John Shand University of Manchester

Jeffrey S. Turner Bucknell University

Andrew Shanks University of Lancaster

Kenneth J. Urban Bucknell University

Shu-mei Shih University of California at Los Angeles Richard Shusterman Florida Atlantic University Alfred K. Siewers Bucknell University Susan R. Skand Rutgers University Barry Smart University of Auckland Shiva Kumar Srinivasan University of Wales, Cardiff Fred L. Standley Florida State University

Immanuel Wallerstein Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University †Peter Widdowson (University of Gloucestershire) Harry Wilkins University of Wales, Cardiff Iain Wright Australian National University Slava I. Yastremski Bucknell University Virginia Zimmerman Bucknell University †deceased


James P. Rice Bucknell University

Preface to the First Edition (1996)

This dictionary provides a full and accessible reference guide to modern ideas in the broad interdisciplinary fields of cultural and critical theory, which have developed from interactions among modern linguistic, literary, anthropological, philosophical, political, and historical traditions of thought. The interdisciplinary focus of this book is on contemporary theory, reflecting the remarkable breaching during the past 20 years of many of the traditional barriers that once separated disciplines within and between the humanities and social sciences. Structuralist, post-structuralist, phenomenological, feminist, hermeneutical, psychoanalytic, Marxist, and formalist modes of theory have been especially influential; they are, therefore, prominent in the dictionary entries. Work in these fields that appeared before the twentieth century is included when it forms an important context for understanding later thinking. The length of articles is not intended as a judgment of the relative importance of topics, but rather as an indication of either the extent of their current use by cultural and critical theorists or their difficulty and complexity. A special feature of the dictionary is the inclusion of several speculative or polemical essays on selected key topics and writers. Survey articles on area studies and period studies are also incorporated and help to give a sense of connection between topics that might otherwise seem simply discrete. It understandably may appear premature to offer now a dictionary of cultural and critical theory, since both cultural studies and critical theory are yet protean innovations in the discourses of the humanities and human sciences. Indeed, there is good reason to question even whether the two sets of terms in the previous sentence – “cultural studies”/“critical theory” and “humanities”/“human sciences” – can sit comfortably side by side. Perhaps this dictionary might have been more accurately titled “a dictionary of mercurial discourse about the study of human beings at the end of the twentieth century.” But such an all-embracing title would also have created false expectations. There is little here that would assist beginning students or general readers interested solely in the physical or managerial sciences, except in so far as those sciences intersect with the arts, the critical humanities, and the revisionary social sciences. There may also be little here to interest the traditional humanist, if such there be, who continues to cherish a sense of art removed from the vicissitudes of history, politics, economics, and the recent interventions of deconstruction, feminism, semiotics, Marxism, and psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, even those who have contributed to such interventions might be disturbed to find here articles on perennial topics in the history of ideas and on some authors who have been vilified, perhaps justifiably, by activist intellectuals who find it no longer possible to believe that history, politics, and economics can any more serve simply as “background” to the study of the



Preface to the First Edition

humanities. Although the scope of this dictionary is wide, the individual entries are often purposefully polemical. Current intellectual discourse in the humanities and human sciences is often messy, difficult, and dynamic. It embraces not only the greatest writers, artists, and thinkers of the past but also radio, film, blues, rap, and comics; it crosses the traditional boundaries that once (always uncertainly) separated the creative from the critical; it is engagé in ways that might have made even Sartre uncomfortable, because of its restless concern for the excluded and the marginalized; it is self-critical and self-conscious to the point where its language has occasionally seemed far too difficult, tortured, or obscure. This dictionary in part reflects the messy dynamics of current discourse about the human condition at the end of the twentieth century; nevertheless, it attempts to be useful by making that discourse more widely intelligible. The authors of the following entries have been asked to write for a worldwide English-reading audience of students, scholars, and general readers. We have tried to be clear when clarity is possible, but not to avoid difficulty and uncertainty. Authors have also been asked to assume a point of view on their topics and to indicate that they have done so, when such seems to them appropriate. We have made every effort to gather an ecumenical and international authorship, but there is also represented here one fairly substantial group of contributions from a single academic institution in the United States. By this means an attempt has been made to take, as it were, a seismographic reading of the innovations in cultural and critical studies at one university and to play those off against work in many other institutions throughout the world, literally from Australia to Zimbabwe, in recognition of the cultural specificity of cultural studies. It is hoped that the entries in this dictionary will be taken as provocative and provisional. Most of them include suggestions for further reading; there is a thorough cross-referencing system (words or names in capitals refer to full articles on these topics); and readers will find a comprehensive bibliography and index at the end of the volume. In the event of a second edition of this book, readers are encouraged to communicate with the editor concerning errors of fact or omission, by way of the publisher. This book is dedicated to the memory of Raman Selden, who died very young soon after proposing this project. Where it has been possible to determine Professor Selden’s original editorial intentions, those have been followed whenever feasible. The members of the advisory board have been exceptionally tolerant in agreeing to work with two general editors who unfortunately never met. I would like especially to thank several of my students who assisted with the bibliography and contributed in other ways to this book: Ruth Davies, Tara Gilligan (both Knight Fellows), David Barneda, Robert Woodward, and Ted Temple. Without the continuous support of Stephan Chambers, Alyn Shipton, Andrew McNeillie, and particularly Denise Rea at Blackwell Publishers, this project would never have been continued, much less completed. Sandra Raphael guided this project through the final stages of production with tactful and intelligent efficiency. Reference librarians at the British Library, the London Library, the Warburg Institute (London), Senate House Library (University of London), and the Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library (Bucknell University) were, as always, helpful and resourceful.

Preface to the Second Edition (2010)

The editors of this second edition of A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory want first of all to thank the many appreciative, careful readers and casual, hurried users of the first edition (in both its English and Spanish versions) who took the time to express what they liked and what they thought could be improved in this book. In preparing the second edition we have also been instructed by published reviews of the first edition, which were very generous and helpful. We are fully aware, however, that this edition will perhaps not totally satisfy professional anthropologists, who may still be somewhat territorial in their insistence that matters cultural be thought about fundamentally, if not exclusively, according to the protocols of their discipline. We hope, nevertheless, that the revisions and additions in this second edition reflect how important it is that cultural theorists embrace the disciplines of the social sciences no less than critical theorists embrace the disciplines of the humanities. Unashamedly, however, this edition is still addressed mainly to a combined audience of general readers and a somewhat more academic audience of humanists and social scientists. The arrival of cultural and critical theory in humanistic disciplines throughout the world led to an important epistemological break (or “epistemological slide,” as Roland Barthes preferred more modestly to call it) from about 1966 into the early years of the current millennium. Perhaps, however, one of the biggest changes that has occurred since the publication of our first edition is that cultural and critical theory has become ubiquitous – indeed, “mainstream” – in the discourses of the humanities and social sciences. Although that appears to have produced more civil dialogue, it might have also made cultural and critical theory seem respectable, tamer, and less sexy. (It is too early to tell, however, what reception the Arabic edition of this book will have.) The things that are new in this edition fall into the following categories. (1) There are approximately 60 pages of entirely new entries, including major pieces on Alain Badiou, the philosophy of biology, skin, fairy tales, ethnomusicology, eroticism, and a host of other topics. (2) There are also new entries that offer important reconceptualizations of earlier topics, such as “comparative racialization,” “racial neoliberalism,” “feminist philosophy,” and “ordinary language philosophy and criticism.” (3) A major innovation here is a set of critically reflective, broad-ranging articles (firstperson mini-manifestoes) that emerge from the authors’ life-long investment in certain topics, such as Julia Kristeva on “cultural diversity,” Stanley Cavell on “Emerson and philosophy,” Simon Critchley on “politics and original sin,” William Duckworth on “virtual music,” and Vasudevi Reddy on “cultures and minds.” (4) Many other articles – such as “poetry,” “tragedy,” “Latin American Studies,” “Victorian studies,” and “Irish studies” – have been entirely recast in light of recent work in those


jessica rae barbera michael payne

Preface to the Second Edition

fields. (5) Finally, throughout the book, there are countless additions, updates, and refinements that authors have wished to make to their earlier work. Cultural and critical theory propose two complementary ways of thinking about texts and other human artifacts: cultural theory opens out from the object(s) under consideration in the effort to provide broad social and historical contexts for understanding; critical theory, on the other hand, turns inward to enable us to assess the adequacy of our ways of seeing and thinking. Like cultural and critical theory, René Magritte’s La Clef des Champs (1936), reproduced on the cover of this book, urges us to evaluate our world and the perspectives from which we view it. The broken window and fallen glass with embedded images remind us of the relationship between particular objects and ideas, and the unique contexts within which they exist – the landscapes they simultaneously reveal, alter, and rely upon. The painting’s title persuades us that “The Door to Freedom” might not be a door at all. For a moment we are destabilized, but then quickly encouraged. Shattered assumptions offer freedom. After all, sometimes a seemingly mundane view turns out to be surprising; the window through which we look makes all the difference.


The editors wish to acknowledge first of all the patience and hard work of the many contributors to this volume, whom we have come to think of as a true community of scholars. The editorial and production staff at Wiley-Blackwell have once again been wonderful to work with. We have particularly appreciated the wise guidance and understanding flexibility of Emma Bennett, Isobel Bainton, Caroline Clamp, Ginny Graham, Linda Auld, and John Taylor. Two entries are adapted from material that first appeared in PMLA: Hillary Chute’s “Graphic narrative” and Shu-mei Shih’s “Comparative racialization.” Denise Lewis was very helpful in preparing the electronic text of Julia Kristeva’s “Diversity and culture.” As always we are grateful to our students, whom we have kept in mind as our ideal readers. In memorium: Tony Tanner Maleolm Bowie Emmanuel Eze Peter Widdowson

Introduction Some Versions of Cultural and Critical Theory (1996)

It is the trope of our times to locate the question of culture in the realm of the beyond. At the century’s edge, we are less exercised by annihilation – the death of the author – or epiphany – the birth of the “subject.” Our existence today is marked by a tenebrous sense of survival, living on the borderlines of the “present” for which there seems to be no proper name other than the current and controversial shiftiness of the prefix “post:” postmodernism, postcolonialism, postfeminism. (Bhabha, 1994, p. 1)

In one of his witty fictions of futile human efforts to give order to knowledge, Borges describes a Chinese encyclopedia’s categories of animals as “(a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (1) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies” (Borges, 1974, p. 708). It is not surprising that the many recent attempts to define the field of cultural studies seem no less whimsical than this, since culture is simultaneously such an elusive and all-encompassing idea. In 1952 the distinguished anthropologists A.L. Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn published the most comprehensive assessment of culture as a term and an idea. They carefully distinguished definitions proposed by 110 authors according to 52 discrete concepts used in those definitions. However, like the Chinese encyclopedist in Borges’s Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, they added a further category of 25 additional terms not included in their primary list of 52, as though under the heading of et cetera. Raymond Williams obviously committed no exaggeration when he announced that “culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (Williams, 1988, p. 87).

Definitions of Culture In the humanities and human sciences, culture retains some of its Latinate connotation of physical nurture or cultivation, as the term is commonly used by biologists; but it was not applied to the historical and social organization of human beings until the mid-eighteenth century, in German. According to Kroeber and Kluckhohn’s survey, the adoption of the term in Romance languages and in English was delayed by the currency of civilization, also a Latinate term (from civis, civilis, civitas, civilitas), where the reference is to the life of the citizen in politically sophisticated urban states, in contrast to the rural, barbaric, or pastoral life of the tribesman. As the concept of culture slowly began to eclipse that of civilization – from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century – it came to signify “a set of attributes and products of human societies, and therewith of mankind, which are


2 extrasomatic and transmissible by mechanisms other than biological heredity, and are as essentially lacking in sub-human species as they are characteristic of the human species as it is aggregated in its societies” (Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952, p. 284). In 1871, at last, E.B. Tylor’s then provocatively titled book Primitive Culture gave some stability to the term and clarity to its definition: “Culture, or civilization,” he wrote, “. . . is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (quoted by Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952, p. 81). Except for what we now would read as a perhaps unconsciously sexist nineteenth-century metonymy for human beings (“man”), Tylor’s definition has not been improved.

Coordinates of Cultural and Critical Theory The study of culture, or cultural theory, is no less a multiplicity than culture, even though cultural studies have generally come to be identified with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham and with the influence of Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy (1957), Raymond Williams’s Culture and Society (1958), and E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (1968). Although published a decade later than the books by Hoggart and Williams, E.P. Thompson’s work provided a meticulous social historical foundation for the earlier books, in which Hoggart and Williams find themselves caught between the disappearance of the working-class culture into which they were born and the commercial/capitalist/American assault on a literary culture into which they were educated. Although unemployment has understandably come to be thought a recent threat by those who suffer from it, anticipate it, or fear it, there were never fewer than a million unemployed in Britain’s working class from the 1920s until the 1939–45 war, when suddenly Britain, like the United States, moved fitfully toward full employment, mainly because of the numbers of people then in military service. After 1945, with the introduction of new production techniques in industry, the possibility of an upwardly mobile, leisure culture, instead of a jobless one, seemed quite real. Founded on this belief, a massive effort began on both sides of the Atlantic, not only to educate former soldiers but also to dispense literature and the other arts in order to cultivate leisure in a manner previously unrealized. In the United States, for example, the Ford Foundation sponsored a highly successful Great Books program through local libraries. Somewhat later the Elderhostel program for people of retirement age made possible short university courses at little expense. In this spirit, Eric Hoffer, the philosopher of the International Longshoreman’s Union in California, championed the creative use of leisure and even proposed, in an exuberant moment, that all of northern California be set aside for such cultivated leisure. Even before the war, the task of widespread cultural education had been taken up more soberly by the “New Critics,” Cleanth Brooks, R.B. Heilman, and Robert Penn Warren, in the popular college textbooks they edited together, and in their influential criticism. Meanwhile in Britain I.A. Richards, F.R. Leavis, and William Empson set for themselves an even more ambitious task. Leavis’s work, as he may well have welcomed, has recently been subjected to careful and elaborate scrutiny (see Mulhern, 1979 and Baldick, 1983). Unlike the American New Critics, he promoted not only such a program of close reading as did Richards and Empson, but also a careful consideration of the importance of literature as a cultural product and as a force for moral education and informed judgment. In this respect Leavis continued a tradition of English criticism that extended from Sir Philip Sidney to Samuel Johnson, through William Blake and Matthew Arnold to T.S. Eliot. Although rarely examining this problem, recent champions of that moral tradition have assumed a connection between knowledge and virtue that has rarely, since Plato, gone uncontested. The hope had always been that knowledge would lead to virtue, although the realization of that hope continues to be elusive at best. As cultural studies developed in Britain under the influence of Hoggart and Williams, a set of concepts came to determine much of the discourse of this new interdisciplinary or anti-disciplinary field. Human subjectivity and consciousness, ideology and hegemony, critique and polysemy provided then, as now, the key coordinates of cultural studies, especially, since the 1970s, as cultural theorists have



Subjectivity and consciousness Much of the language that commonly refers to human beings as individuals with essential and determinate identities disguises the divided character of subjectivity and consciousness. As Hegel argued in Phenomenology of the Mind, consciousness operates not only by defining what falls within its scope but also by breaching what it previously thought to be its defining limitations and then incorporating those superseded definitions into a newly expanded structure of thought. An inescapable feature of consciousness is thus its capacity to think about a topic and simultaneously to assess critically how that topic is being thought about. Freud, however, in The Interpretation of Dreams, observed that centuries before Hegel poets and other writers had explored a vast expanse of mental activity that lies beyond consciousness – in dreams and fantasies – or that unexpectedly disrupts it – in jokes, slips of the tongue, and works of art. The determination of recent thinkers (such as Lacan, Derrida, and Kristeva) to refer to human beings as subjects manifests an effort to resist pre-Hegelian and pre-Freudian assumptions of human unity and ego identity. Subjectivity, however, also recalls a sense of subjection and a resistance to unthought assumptions about essential human freedom. Born into language, culture, and race, class and gender politics, the subject is never fully autonomous. (ii) Ideology and hegemony Marx, in his “Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” argued, “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness” (Marx and Engels, 1968, p. 173). A failure to recognize the ways in which the economic structure of society determines the social relations of human beings and curtails the independence of their will is to be in the grip of ideology. Indeed, the ruling ideas of an age, as Marx and Engels argued in The German Ideology, amount to little more than the idealization of then dominant economic class relationships. Forms of consciousness therefore constitute ideologies, which either hold subjects in their grip or form limitations that can be breached by critique or social revolution. An alternative (or supplement) to violent forms of suppressing or postponing revolutionary change is the manipulation of the superstructural forms of culture – education, media, religion, art – not only by government but also by those who are subject to such manipulation. Hegemony, in this sense, is complicity in oppression as normal or as necessarily a part of culture by those who are ruled by it. As Gramsci claimed in his Prison Notebooks, hegemony is woven out of a network of ideologies and is then transmitted by intellectuals in affiliation with the ruling class. (iii) Critique and polysemy A systematic program to perform a critique of ideology (Ideologiekritik) in order simultaneously to understand its processes and to resist its dominance has been the continuing project of the so-called Frankfurt school of social theorists (including Adorno, Horkheimer, the early Marcuse, and Habermas), whether these thinkers have worked in Vienna, California, New York, or Frankfurt. If indeed forms of consciousness can be understood as the substance of ideology, education as a conduit of hegemony, and intellectuals as unwitting or complicitous agents of non-violent oppression, then any attempt to know (or theorize) the processes of society must begin with a radical criticism of the dominating forces of ideology in order to disengage consciousness from what keeps it politically unconscious. The principal effort here is not simply to oppose those forces with moralizing criticism but also to discover a new form of knowledge that is distinct from empirical science, that is founded in radical criticism, and that is determined to be a force for social change. These features of Ideologiekritik are also common to many forms of feminist, postcolonial, and anti-racist criticism. One opening for this ambitious critique of ideology is provided by a cardinal principle of semiotics: language and all signifying structures are polysemous, not only in the sense that


become more fully responsive to continental European developments in semiotics, psychoanalysis, critical theory, and philosophy. Although debate has been passionate and complex concerning these matters – and continues unabated – many cultural and critical theorists either advocate or find their thinking clarified in opposition to the following three contentions:


4 they mean many things at once, but also that they may say more than they want to say. Derrida, for example, in Of Grammatology argues that all texts (whether in written language or in other signifying forms) if read carefully enough can be shown to provide, often unwittingly, the resources for their own critique. If, however, polysemy provides such deconstructive resources for a critique of ideology, those same resources are to be found in critical texts for their appropriation by the dominant ideology. For this reason such pliant ideologies as liberal humanism would seem to be more of a threat to radical criticism than the authoritarian ideologies of closed societies. The occasional papers published by the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies during the 1960s and 1970s reveal a considerable struggle over these concepts and over the theoretical orientation of the Centre itself. Some of the themes of that debate were how much concern should be devoted to the disappearance of British working-class culture in England, especially during the years after the 1939–45 war; how much to the efforts to continue the development of English studies, which had sustained much opposition at both Cambridge and Oxford in its formative years; how much to a rapprochement with sociology; how much to an incorporation of continental thought, such as the work of Max Weber and Emile Durkheim; and how much – if any – to new cultural forms, such as cinema and television. Although the Centre, a recent victim of Thatcherism, unfortunately no longer exists as a research institute in its own right, there is a sense in which there never was or could be a center for cultural studies. A movement that began in the post-Leavis years at Cambridge, exemplified by Raymond Williams’s Culture and Society, was taken to Birmingham by Richard Hoggart and to Oxford by Terry Eagleton. The famous Essex Conferences, the programs in cultural studies at Sussex and Cardiff, and the many programs in regional universities are eloquent signs of the eventual prevalence of cultural studies in Britain. If there was some uncertainty whether the words “cultural studies” should be followed by a singular or plural verb, there seems little doubt now of their protean plurality (Johnson, 1984, p. 1). Indeed, cultural studies in Britain began with the realization that a common working-class culture of reconciliation was dying or being destroyed, leaving the secular canon of literature and the other arts in an embattled relationship to popular and commercial culture. British cultural studies continue under renewed cuts in funding for higher education as a way to keep politically committed research and teaching alive in the major humanities and social science disciplines.

British Cultural Studies: Raymond Williams Raymond Williams’s Culture and Society, which is a founding text for both cultural theory and the New Left, provides the classic “map” of the effects of the Industrial Revolution as they imprint themselves on English literature. A key element in Williams’s narrative of the transformation of British culture from Coleridge to Orwell is the change in the meanings of the word art from the last decades of the eighteenth through the nineteenth century: From its original sense of a human attribute, a “skill,” it had come, by the period with which we are concerned, to be a kind of institution, a set body of activities of a certain kind. An art had formerly been any human skill; but Art, now, signified a particular group of skills, the “imaginative” or “creative” arts. Artist had meant a skilled person, as had artisan; but artist now referred to these selected skills alone. Further, and most significantly, Art came to stand for a special kind of truth, “imaginative truth” and artist for a special kind of person, as the words artistic and artistical, to describe human beings, new in the 1840s show. A new name aesthetics, was found to describe the judgement of art, and this, in its turn, produced a name for a special kind of person – aesthete. The arts – literature, music, painting, sculpture, theatre – were grouped together, in this new phase, as having something essentially in common which distinguished them from other human skills. (Williams, 1958, pp. xv–xvi).

No sooner is this ideology of the supremacy or automony of artistic truth asserted (as in Keats’s letters and in the final pages of Shelley’s Defence of Poetry) than it begins to be overtaken by an earlier


American New Historicism and Ethnography: Stephen Greenblatt and Clifford Geertz Ambitious as Williams’s program was, it was also deliberately narrow, both geographically and historically. Williams chose to confine his attention to English writers from 1780 to 1950 because of his determination to focus on the immediate effects of the Industrial Revolution on British culture (Williams, 1958, p. vi). The only continental European theorist of culture Williams considers is Marx. Although much indebted to British cultural studies, the New Historicism in America has a considerably wider geographical, historical, and theoretical focus, which results, however, in a less clearly articulated politics. In 1982 Stephen Greenblatt, a professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley, edited a collection of essays on Renaissance studies entitled The Forms of Power and the Power of Forms; in his introduction to that volume, Greenblatt used the phrase “new historicism” (Greenblatt, 1982, p. 1) in a way that seemed to many readers a call for a new movement in literary


argument for the complex responsibility of poets to their readers, which began to be articulated by Wordsworth and Coleridge, in their Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, and was later more fully developed by Pugin, Ruskin, Arnold, and Morris. Not only does Morris stress the root sense of culture as a process of cultivation, but he also challenges the elevation of the artist above the artisan: “Any one,” he wrote, “who professes to think that the question of art and cultivation must go before that of the knife and fork . . . does not understand what art means, or how that its roots must have a soil of a thriving and unanxious life.” In his view, it is civilization, in opposition to culture, that “has reduced the workman to such a skinny and pitiful existence, that he scarcely knows how to frame a desire for any life much better than that which he now endures.” Morris concludes that it is the responsibility of art to set before the members of the working class “the true ideal of a full and reasonable life” in which beauty and pleasure are as necessary to them as the material substance of their lives (Williams, 1958, pp. 150–6). Society loses its root sense of companionship and fellowship and becomes an institutional abstraction when civilization, in its form as the ideological appropriation of culture, detaches art from its social and economic base (Williams, 1976, p. 291). In this view, art is not necessarily or naturally part of a superstructure but has been abstracted and alienated there by the politics of civilization, which here, as Morris thought, retains its sense of urban uprootedness. Williams virtually predicts a prime minister who denied that there was any such thing as society and a succession of American presidents who acted on such a denial (see Hall, 1988, pp. 271–83). Marx identifies the locus of this process of abstraction or alienation – the denial of the root sense of the social – in the transfer of the use-value of labour power to the capitalist, who consumes it before the laborer is compensated. As though anticipating Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, Marx stresses that the laborer not only allows this alienating appropriation to occur, but “everywhere gives credit to the capitalist” (Marx, 1954, Vol. I, p. 170). Then by elevating itself to superstructure, art sacrifices its capacity for cultural reconciliation. Williams insists that Marx did not offer a fully articulated literary or artistic theory, not because he thought such a project irrelevant to his basic concerns or because he thought of literature and the other arts reductively, but because he foresaw much complexity in such an articulation that awaited further elaboration, which he welcomed. Williams reads Engels’s later elaboration of Marx’s distinction between economic base and cultural superstructure as a hardening of what for Marx was essentially a pliable metaphor (Marx and Engels, 1958, p. 167). Williams’s book concludes by bequeathing a powerful and rather intimidating legacy to cultural studies. One tangible consequence of the crisis of culture, conceived as cultivation, and the denial of society, conceived as companionship – both results of their ideological abstraction unwittingly launched by poets – is the rise of cultural studies. “The change in the whole form of our common life produced, as a necessary reaction, an emphasis on attention to this whole form” (Williams, 1958, p. 295). In Williams’s view, cultural and critical theory is itself a cultural production, simultaneously committed to the processes of cultural critique and to the renewal of cultivation and companionship made possible by the reconciling potential of art that is actively resistant to ideological appropriation.


6 study. Two years earlier, he had published Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare, a book of lasting importance that significantly changed the landscape of English Renaissance studies. In that book Greenblatt argues that the idea of the self as an artifact to be fashioned by individual will is itself a cultural production of the Renaissance. Although a close approximation of this thesis can be found in Marx and Engels’s discussion of individuality in the Manifesto of the Communist Party (Marx and Engels, 1958, pp. 47–8), Greenblatt’s argument arises out of a uniquely “thick” description of the texts he examines. Despite the obvious significance for him of Michel Foucault, who visited Berkeley in 1980, and the scholars of the Warburg Institute, where Greenblatt has sometimes worked, he has been most powerfully influenced by the cultural theories of the American anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Indeed, the new historicism is solidly based on a new ethnography that proclaims itself both a fictional art and a social science. Geertz’s concept of culture, however, is fundamentally a semiotic one. He sees the task of anthropology as that of deciphering the complex webs of significance spun by human beings (Geertz, 1973, p. 5). Echoing the language of the American philosopher Stanley Cavell, he thinks of anthropology at its best as the acknowledgement of the meaningful ordinary life of another person, who is most often a member of a culture different from that of the ethnographer. Anthropology is thus an encounter with otherness in terms of the minute semiotic details of ordinary life. The essays collected in Geertz’s The Interpretation of Cultures, first published in 1973, not only provide a retrospective of 15 years of his fieldwork but also his most fully presented theory of culture, which he insists is necessarily embedded in the microscopic details of ethnography. For him (with no apparent allusion to Heidegger), cultural theory is rooted in the soil of ordinary daily life and is discovered there when the ethnographer is about his professional task of “thick description.” Geertz takes the phrase “thick description” from Gilbert Ryle, who invites his reader, in the context of wondering what the sculpture of Rodin’s Thinker is thinking, to consider the behavior of boys who are not thinking, but winking. One boy’s wink may be in fact an involuntary twitch, another a conspiratorial wink, another – possibly in reaction to the second – a dismissive parody of a truly adequate conspiratorial wink, a fourth a preparation before a mirror to mock an inadequate conspiratorial wink. In all cases, here much simplified, a camera, if it were there, would simply record multiple winks, indistinguishable from parodies and rehearsals of parodies. But, Geertz argues, using a carefully chosen example from the relevant anthropological literature, the ethnographer is professionally charged to render thick descriptions of the differences in meaning among these various winks. The ethnographer, as writer of the relevant ethnos, must write what it variously means. According to Geertz’s formulation, there are, then, four characteristics of ethnographic description. First, it is interpretative; second, what it interprets is the “flow of social discourse” from winks to Javanese rituals to Balinese cockfights; third, the act of interpreting is an attempt to “rescue” the meaning of such discourse from the perishable occasions on which it occurs and to “fix” it in perusable terms; and fourth, it is microscopic in the sense that it confronts the same grand realities as the other human sciences – such as power, change, faith, oppression, beauty, love – but locates them in the homely details of everyday life (Geertz, 1973, pp. 20–1). Geertz is openly contemptuous of the notion that the essence of complex national societies or great religions can be discovered in certain “typical” small towns or localities, whether Jonesville, Easter Island, or Montaillou. It is not the generality but the variation of cultural forms, he insists, that is both anthropology’s greatest resource and the basis of its besetting theoretical dilemma: “how is such variation to be squared with the biological unity of the human species?” (Geertz, 1973, p. 22). Given this dilemma, it is not surprising to discover the major advances of cultural theory in specific studies by such ethnographers as Lévi-Strauss, Evans-Pritchard, Malinowski, and Benedict (Geertz, 1993). Accordingly, it is not surprising to discover the most important achievements of new historicism in such particular cases as Greenblatt’s studies of Walter Raleigh, Holbein’s The Ambassadors, Spenser’s “Mutability Cantos,” and his account of the books that Christopher Columbus read. But Greenblatt’s work also manifests a politics that is purposefully absent from Geertz’s ethnographical project. At a critical point in his career Michel Foucault described the object of his work as


The simple operation of any systematic order, any allocation method, will inevitably run the risk of exposing its own limitations, even (or perhaps especially) as it asserts its underlying moral principle. This exposure is at its most intense at moments in which a comfortably established ideology confronts unusual circumstances, moments when the moral value of a particular form of power is not merely assumed but explained. (Greenblatt, 1992, p. 92)

The context for this reflection on the implications of cultural poetics for cultural politics is Greenblatt’s thick description of Thomas Harriot’s A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, a text that reveals a critical instance of the social construction of European values in America, when the dynamics of subversion encompassed the colonialists no less than the native Americans whose land they had appropriated.

Critical Theory and Culture: Jürgen Habermas The idea of critical theory is rightly associated with a group of German philosophers, including Horkheimer and Adorno, whose founding text for the Frankfurt school, Dialectic of Enlightenment (Dialektik der Aufklärung, 1944), was published long before any of the books by Raymond Williams, Clifford Geertz, or Stephen Greenblatt. The tradition of critical theory is now carried on by Jürgen Habermas, whose writing provides more comprehensively than his predecessors a powerful critique of modernity that reaches from Hegel and Marx to Nietzsche and Heidegger and on to Foucault and Derrida. No one, it appears, is more widely read in contemporary cultural and critical theory than Habermas, as The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne: Zwölf Vorlesungen (1985)) amply demonstrates. In his view, modern philosophical discourse continues to struggle with the legacy of Hegel that Marx and other Left Hegelians inherited more than a century ago. Whereas Hegel in Phenomenology of the Mind attempted to purify the subject-centered reason of the Enlightenment in an effort to attain absolute knowledge, Marx and the Young Hegelians insisted on reason’s inescapable impurity, on its being caught in history, politics, passion, and the body. Accordingly, Nietzsche proceeded to analyze “the fruitlessness of cultural tradition uncoupled from action and shoved into the sphere of interiority,” and to announce the end of philosophy (Habermas, 1985, p. 85). Reading French poststructuralism – especially the writings of Derrida, Foucault, and Bataille – as the direct outcome of that proclamation, Habermas is determined to affirm reason as a form of communicative action that is conversant with such dark, banished antitheses to reason as madness and desire and that is determined to fulfill its communicative role actively and publicly. Hegel himself briefly glimpsed this need for philosophy’s full cultural engagement; if not the first modern, he was, in this sense, the first to see the problem of modernity. In the manuscript of his Systemprogramm, Hegel records the conviction, which he shared in Frankfurt with Hölderlin and Schelling, that philosophy needs to join with art to fashion a mythology that would make philosophy’s cultural engagement possible and publicly accessible. Habermas describes this program as “the monotheism of reason and of the heart [that] is supposed to join itself to the polytheism of the imagination” (Habermas, 1985, p. 32). The German Romantic poetry that Hegel saw being written at the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, seemed inadequate to carry out the great cultural task he thought necessary. Despite his desire to overcome them, Hegel was thus caught in the fundamental alterities of modernity. He was transfixed by the divisions between private reflection and public engagement, between reason and imagination, between philosophy and literature. Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the French poststructuralists (in Habermas’s view) set out to work


“knowledge invested in complex systems of institutions” (quoted by Macey, 1993, p. 234). By carrying forward a project parallel to Foucault’s, but one that brings to written texts the same attention to microscopic detail that Geertz brought to his fieldwork, Greenblatt’s “New Historicism” is no less an engaged or committed criticism than Williams’s. In a rare moment of explicit critical theory, Greenblatt wrote,


8 within those alterities, while neoconservatives yield “uncritically to the rampaging dynamism of social modernity, inasmuch as it trivializes the modern consciousness of time and prunes reason back into understanding and rationality back into purposive rationality” (Habermas, 1987, p. 117). During the 1939–45 war, Horkheimer and Adorno, working in the traditions of Kant and Hegel, developed critical theory as a way to think through the consequences of multiple historical tragedies: fascism in Germany, Stalinism in Soviet Russia, and the apparent mistake of Marx’s prognosis for revolution worldwide. All of this they saw as “the self-destruction of the Enlightenment.” They insisted, however, in Dialectic of Enlightenment: We are wholly convinced – and therein lies our petitio principii – that social freedom is inseparable from enlightened thought. Nevertheless, we believe that we have just as clearly recognized that the notion of this very way of thinking, no less than the actual historic forms – the social institutions – with which it is interwoven, already contains the seed of the reversal universally apparent today. If enlightenment does not accommodate reflection on this recidivist element, then it seals its own fate. If consideration of the destructive aspect of progress is left to its enemies, blindly pragmatized thought loses its transcending quality and its relation to truth. In the enigmatic readiness of the technologically educated masses to fall under the sway of any despotism, in its self-destructive affinity to popular paranoia, and in all uncomprehended absurdity, the weakness of the modern theoretical faculty is apparent. (Adorno and Horkheimer, pp. 243–4)

The threat of the enlightenment’s self-destruction encompassed the fear that reason was being extinguished, leaving civilization in ruins (Habermas, 1987, p. 117). Furthermore, philosophy seemed impotent to deal with these threats; it knew “no workable or abstract rules or goals to replace those at present in force;” it was “simultaneously alien and sympathetic to the status quo” (Adorno and Horkheimer, pp. 243–4). Critical theory, however, seemed capable of rediscovering the power of dialectic, which philosophy had abandoned or forgotten (Habermas, 1987, p. 117). The most important phrase in Adorno and Horkheimer’s statement of their concern, as it now appears, is the observation that rational enlightenment, like other ways of thinking, includes “the seed of reversal.” Habermas traces that reversal through Marx’s ideological critique, which puts under suspicion the thought that the identities of bourgeois ideals are directly manifested in institutions – such as individual nation-states, corporate enterprises, universities, or established modes of thought in the media or in particular publishing houses. Although Habermas is understandably not willing to say so, his updating of critical theory incorporates Derridean deconstruction at precisely the point where Habermas may want to exclude it. Critical theory models itself on Marx’s critique of ideology, which asserts that the meaning of institutions presents a “double face,” showing not only the ideology of the dominant class, but also “the starting point for an immanent critique of structures that elevate to the status of the general interest.” Habermas warns, however, that such critique may be appropriated to serve the interest of the “dominant part of society” (Habermas, 1987, p. 117).

Culture and Imperialism: Edward Said and the Legacy of Foucault The project of critical theory rests on the conviction that the humanities and human sciences must be emancipatory in order to resist becoming ideological instruments of a post-Enlightenment state. Whether or not they give any overt recognition to the work of the Frankfurt school, such movements within cultural theory as feminism, postcolonialism, multiculturalism, and studies of racism share its epistemological politics. However, as these various longitudinal movements within cultural studies proceed to demonstrate a presiding sexism, colonialism, enthnocentrism, or racism within the various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, each in turn promotes its critical project as the most effective or legitimately universal means of exposing a methodological Eurocentrism at work in the production of knowledge. In an important recent book on racist culture, for example, David Theo Goldberg proposes to show how, “through various primary ordering concepts and root


The Orient, thought of as the origin, dreamed of as the vertiginous point that gives birth to nostalgias and promises of return . . . the night of beginnings, in which the West was formed, but in which it traced a dividing line, the Orient is for the West all that the West is not, even though it is there that it must seek its primitive truth. A history of this division throughout its long western evolution should be written, followed in its continuity and its exchanges, but it must also be allowed to appear in its tragic hieratism. (Quoted by Macey, 1993, p. 146)

Beginning with his book Orientalism, Said set out to write that history, although he has recently been determined to deny or obscure his precise debt to Foucault. The object of Said’s critical attention has not been simply attempts by the West to subdue the Orient by force or by economic exploitation; rather, he has argued that the Orient is virtually an invention of those European disciplines that have set out to study it. Orientalism, as a form of epistemological imperialism, is therefore, not a foreign, but “an integral part of European material civilization and culture” (Said, 1979, p. 1). Not only oriental studies but also linguistics, history, criticism, philosophy, religious studies, sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, economics are all complicitous in the production of orientalism. Rather than simply continuing the argument of his earlier book, Said’s Culture and Imperialism enlarges its thesis by setting out to demonstrate that orientalism is but one manifestation of imperialism and that in their pursuits of empire Europe and America have used their cultural forms, including such ideals as freedom and individualism, as means of conquest and domination. “Neither imperialism nor colonialism,” he argues, “is a simple act of accumulation and acquisition. Both are supported and perhaps even impelled by impressive ideological formations that include notions that certain territories and people require and beseech domination, as well as forms of knowledge affiliated with domination” (Said, 1993, p. 8). Indeed, the imperial experience provided the focused opportunity for developing the new multidiscipline of cultural studies. Cultural theory, it would therefore seem, is compromised from its start. In Said’s view cultural and critical theory from Williams to Habermas has either been “blinded” to imperialism or unreliable in resisting it; indeed, the only French theorists he exempts from this judgment are Deleuze, Todorov, and Derrida (Said, 1993, p. 336). Said’s theory of culture, however, attempts to disown what he sees as the contaminated beginnings of cultural studies. Apparently for this reason he uses the word “culture” in two strategically distinct ways. In one sense, it signifies for him “all those practices, like the arts of description, communication, and representation, that have relative autonomy from the economic, social, and political realms and that often exist in aesthetic forms, one of whose principal aims is pleasure.” In a second sense, culture is a concept that, by suggesting refinement and elevation, extends from what a given society thinks to be the best that has been known and thought (as in Matthew Arnold’s famous definition) to self-aggrandizing or xenophobic identification of a culture with what it thinks to be the best that the world has known (Said, 1993, pp. xii–xiii). The first category allows for the private pleasure Said finds in such texts as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or Verdi’s Aida, while the second provides the opportunity to critique the manifestations of imperialist ideologies in those texts and in their corresponding appropriation by a dominating culture to promote the interests of empire. In order to account for the relationships between these two categories, Said resorts to a metaphor from music that seems designed to provide no conceptual resolution. He writes: I have been proposing the contrapuntal lines of a global analysis, in which texts and worldly institutions are seen working together, in which Dickens and Thackeray as London authors are read also as


metaphors, contemporary knowledge production reinvigorates racialized categories or launches new ones and so subtly orders anew the exclusiveness and exclusions of racist expression” (Goldberg, 1993, p. 149). Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism is one of the most ambitious recent efforts to expose such a politically tainted epistemology. In the original preface to his History of Madness, Michel Foucault wrote:


10 writers whose historical influence is informed by the colonial enterprises in India and Australia of which they were so aware, and in which the literature of one commonwealth is involved in the literatures of others. (Said, 1993, pp. 385–6)

Indeed, Said himself seems caught in what Habermas sees as the besetting modernist dilemma of multiple alterities: born into a Protestant family in the Middle East, educated in the West in preparation for returning to the cause of the Palestinians, teaching and writing about American and European imperialism at Columbia for a predominantly American and British audience, Said is eloquent in his honest inability to resolve these conflicts, which is what leads him to the final debilitating image of his troubled book. This is the way he captures the tragic hieratic that Foucault called for: There is a great difference . . . between the optimistic mobility, the intellectual liveliness, and “the logic of daring” described by the various theoreticians on whose work I have drawn, and the massive dislocations, waste, misery, and horrors endured in our century’s migrations and mutilated lives. Yet it is no exaggeration to say that liberation as an intellectual mission, born in the resistance and opposition to the confinements and ravages of imperialism, has now shifted from the settled, established, and domesticated dynamics of culture to its unhoused, decentred, and exilic energies, energies whose incarnation today is the migrant, and whose consciousness is that of the intellectual and artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages. From this perspective then all things are indeed counter, original, spare, strange. From this perspective also, one can see “the complete consort dancing together” contrapuntally. (Said, 1993, p. 403)

From such an accomplished musical performer and music critic as Said, these images have the resonance of authenticity. But Said understandably fears that there might be something Panglossian in his conclusion. Is it possible to imagine or even to describe, in the manner of Clifford Geertz’s “thick” precision, a dance of starving and dispossessed peoples from Africa, Europe, and elsewhere moving rhythmically with intellectual theorists – dislocated or otherwise – to some contrapuntal music that intermixes modernist private pleasure with massive cultural guilt? Said has the audacity to confront the challenge of how the aesthetic and the political can possibly coexist. That was, however, also the project of Foucault, which Said now condemns, based on his reading of Foucault’s unfinished History of Sexuality, as an extended glorification of the self, a stigma he labors hard to avoid himself. Cultural and critical theory has not yet found a means of crossing the impasse or aporia that divides aesthetic pleasure from social responsibility, however determinedly it works to do so. Its determination has been to chart the impact of major disruptions in the discourse of culture and the ideological appropriation of the arts – such as Said’s uncovering of traces of imperialism in nineteenth-century fiction and opera or Williams’s project for registering the literary impact of the Industrial Revolution – while simultaneously being determined to work for cultural change, whether for the literary enfranchisement of the working class that Williams proposed, or for an understanding, at last, of the recurring consequences of the social disruptions created by the 1939–45 war, which continue to manifest themselves thoughout the world. Cultural and critical theory will have done little if it fails to bring some renewed reflection – accompanied by informed action – to these continuing threats to the project of the enlightenment.

Reading Adorno, Theodor, and Horkheimer, Max 1979: Dialectic of Enlightenment. Baldick, Chris 1983: The Social Mission of English Criticism. Bhabha, Homi K. 1994: The Location of Culture. Blundell, Valda, Shepherd, John, and Taylor, Ian, eds 1993: Relocating Cultural Studies: Developments in Theory and Research. Borges, Jorge Luis 1974: Obras Completas. Derrida, Jacques 1976: Of Grammatology.


michael payne


During, Simon, ed. 1993: The Cultural Studies Reader. Eagleton, Terry 1993: The Crisis of Contemporary Culture. Geertz, Clifford 1973 (1993): The Interpretation of Cultures. —— 1989: Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author. Goldberg, David Theo 1993: Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning. Greenblatt, Stephen 1980: Renaissance Self-Fashioning. —— ed. 1982: The Forms of Power and the Power of Forms. —— 1985 (1992): “Invisible bullets: Renaissance authority and its subversion. Henry IV and Henry V.” Habermas, Jürgen 1987: The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Hall, Stuart 1988: The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left. Inglis, Fred 1993: Cultural Studies. Jayawardena, Kumari 1986: Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World. Johnson, Richard 1984: What Is Cultural Studies Anyway? Kroeber, A.L. and Kluckhohn, Clyde 1952: Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. Macey, David 1993: The Lives of Michel Foucault. Marx, Karl 1954: Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. —— and Engels, Frederick 1968: Selected Works in One Volume. Mulhern, Francis 1979: The Moment of “Scrutiny.” Said, Edward 1993: Culture and Imperialism. —— 1979: Orientalism. Williams, Raymond 1958 (1993): Culture & Society: Coleridge to Orwell. —— 1976 (1988): Keywords.





See Nineteen sixty-eight

abjection See Kristeva, julia

actant A structural unit of Narratology proposed in Greimas (1966). Sentences have six actants, comprising three Binary oppositions. Each pair epitomizes a fundamental narrative element: subject/object refers to desire, sender/ receiver to communication, and helper/opponent to secondary assistance or interference. This structure is posited as basic to all narrative.

Reading Greimas, A.J. 1966: Semantique Structurale. —— 1970: Du Sens. —— 1973: “Les Actants, les acteurs et les figures.”

paul innes

Adorno, Theodor W. (1903–69) German philosopher, musicologist and cultural critic. A prominent member of the Frankfurt school of critical theorists. Alongside Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Wittgenstein, Adorno is one of the most important German-language philosophers of the century. The range and volume of his output is enormous (Adorno, 1970b). It includes studies of central figures in the German philosophical tradition (Hegel, Kierkegaard,

Husserl, Heidegger), monographs and essays on composers (Wagner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Berg), four volumes of Literary criticism, a variety of sociological writings, and numerous essays and fragments of cultural criticism. Most significant, however, are three works of outstanding philosophical originality: Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), cowritten with Horkheimer, Negative Dialectics (1966) and the posthumously published Aesthetic Theory (1970a). Son of an assimilated Jewish wine merchant and a Corsican Catholic mother, who was a professional singer, Adorno’s early years were comfortable and precocious. Whereas Benjamin’s childhood provided him with a model of the way frustration gives rise to the power of the wish, Adorno’s seems to have furnished him with an experience of fulfillment against which to measure the privations of later life. (Symptomatically, perhaps, Adorno was his mother’s name. He exchanged it for his patronymic Wiesengrund in the late 1930s.) Adorno came to both music and philosophy young. Having trained in piano as a child, and acquired a doctorate (on Husserl’s phenomenology) by the age of 21, he studied composition for two years in Vienna as a student of Alban Berg, before returning to Frankfurt to prepare his Habilitationsschrift (the thesis required for a tenured position in a German university) on “The concept of the unconscious in the transcendental theory of the mind” (1927). This

13 as manifestations of an historical reason. His means was a renewal of dialectical thought in the wake of the regression of the Marxist critique of Hegel, back into the sclerotic form of the system it had set out to explode. To begin with, Adorno adopted an essentially hermeneutical model of philosophy as interpretation, derived from Benjamin’s appropriation of the early German Romantics’ conception of criticism. However, this was soon replaced with his own distinctive notion of philosophy as a particular kind of experience: “second reflection” or reflection upon the (reflective) relationship between subject and object constitutive of other types of experience. Like the concept of Negative dialectics to which it gave rise, this idea may be viewed as a compromise formation midway between the thought of Kant and Hegel. Philosophy aspires to the standpoint of the transcendental, the unconditioned, yet it exists only in historically specific and thus socially restricted forms. If it is to be true to itself, it must incorporate a consciousness of its own limitations into its reflections on other forms of experience. It must combat the delusion of an achieved universality, without falling back into an affirmation of the merely existent. This is the trick of a negative dialectics: to refuse to foreclose the endless movement of reflection between the universality of reason and the particularity of experience, whereby each corrects the one-sidedness of the other and renders it determinate in its historically specific form. Adorno thus combines a Kantian emphasis on the limits of reason with Hegel’s sense of dialectical reflection as absolute productivity. The difference from Hegel is that the absolute is never achieved. It is the speculative horizon of all thought concerned with truth (as opposed to mere knowledge, which is the business of science), and as such is constitutive of philosophical experience. Yet as soon as it is given a positive charcterization, it is falsified. This is the meaning of two of Adorno’s best-known aphorisms: “The whole is the untrue” (Adorno, 1951) and “Universal history must be constructed and denied” (Adorno, 1966). In line with these ideas, Adorno’s output may be divided into three basic kinds: social critiques of philosophies, philosophical criticism of culture, and more purely philosophical works in which

Adorno, Theodor W.

ambitious attempt at an unorthodox NeoKantian reading of Freud, with Marxist conclusions, was unsuccessful in gaining Adorno the right to teach, but it indicates the scope of his interests at the time. In 1928 he became the editor of the Viennese musical journal Anbruch, and turned to a study of Kierkegaard for a fresh attempt at his Habilitation. Along with this study of Kierkegaard (Adorno, 1933), which was published in Germany on the day Hitler came to power, two other early (posthumously published) pieces stand out as representative statements of Adorno’s project: “The actuality of philosophy,” his inaugural lecture at the University of Frankfurt, and “The idea of natural history,” a talk to the Frankfurt branch of the Kant Society (Adorno, 1931; 1932). All three are characterized by the methodological influence of Benjamin’s Origin of German Tragic Drama (1928a), hostility to Heidegger’s Existentialism (which had already achieved considerable impact by the early 1930s), and a stylistic debt to Schoenberg’s compositional technique – features which Adorno’s writings retained, in one way or another, to the end. Adorno’s philosophical position developed significantly during his period of exile from Germany (1934–50), initially in Oxford, then later, along with the rest of the Frankfurt school in the United States; in part as a result of his collaboration with Horkheimer, in part as a consequence of his ongoing debate with Benjamin, which continued, internalized, long after the latter’s death. Yet the broad parameters of his thought remained remarkably stable. They may be summarized as follows: interrogation of the possibility and form of philosophy after the critique of idealism (the recognition of the insufficiency of thought to grasp “the totality of the real”); insistence on the historical character of philosophies as idealized reflections of the logic of social forms; preoccupation with the constitutive separation of the enlightenment conception of “reason” from the sensuous particularity of the aesthetic, and its deleterious effects on the formation of subjectivity. At the center of each lies a tension between the immanence of critique and the aspiration to transcendence inherent in the universality of the concept of reason. Adorno’s overriding goal was the productive maintenance of this tension, in the exposition of cultural practices and products

Adorno, Theodor W.

14 the theoretical terms of the other writings are expounded in their own right. It is for his cultural criticism that Adorno is justly most famous. Yet this is more or less unintelligible without a sense of its philosophical rationale. The absence of such a sense has produced a grossly distorted image of Adorno’s Cultural theory in Englishlanguage media studies and Cultural studies to date, and precluded a productive engagement with it from within these disciplines. For them, it is simply another version of the pessimistic elitism of the mandarin defense of High culture (and its aspiration to a transcendent truth) against its “contamination” by mass culture. Yet this is to overlook the fundamental principle of Adorno’s cultural criticism: namely, that the “high” and the “low” are complementary parts of a larger whole. As Adorno put it in a letter to Benjamin: they are “torn halves of an integral freedom to which however they do not add up.” Both, he argued, “bear the stigmata of capitalism” and both “contain elements of change.” He thought it romantic to sacrifice one to the other, since it is “the division itself ” which is the truth (Adorno, 1936). However, within this framework, there is no doubt that Adorno himself had considerably more sympathy for the modernist avant-garde than he did for that part of the truth embodied in its mass-cultural other. He saw the former as guided by a moment of artistic autonomy (and hence as potentially critical of the existing state of affairs), while the latter was too dependent on preestablished conditions of reception to have more than a passive relationship to truth. This opposition is most notoriously summed up in the contrast between Adorno’s intellectual enthusiasm for Schoenberg’s “new music” and his brutal dimissal of jazz (Adorno, 1955). Of particular note are the different ways in which the commodification of culture is taken to affect the two domains. In Schoenberg’s case, the status of the music as a commodity is understood to be resisted internally, by the music itself. Its social form is incorporated into the musical materials, and critically reflected through its Mediation with the history of music, to which the music consequently contributes something new. Commodification is a part of what the music is about. In the case of jazz, on the other hand, the commodity form is taken to dominate

the musical form, which provides its listeners with “a few simple recipes,” gratifying a conformist desire for the reproduction of the familiar. In neither case is the criterion of judgment the affirmation of Culture (Kultur) as a spiritual Value. Rather, it is the capacity of the work to criticize the existing state of society. In this respect, the writings on jazz may be accused of failing to live up to Adorno’s own model of dialectical criticism. Adorno’s cultural writings are distinctive in treating what is often thought of as “popular” culture as a product of the Culture industries. “Mass” culture is conceived as an industrial product, central to the ideological manipulation of desire and need. This raises the question of Adorno’s relationships to Marxism and Psychoanalysis. On the one hand, in part because of his technical musicological knowledge, Adorno is probably the most important philosopher of musical modernism; on the other, he is the theorist who has most directly and consistently applied Marx’s political economy to the analysis of cultural form. Marxist theory played two main roles in Adorno’s work. It provided him with a materialist critique of traditional philosophy as a realm of alienated universality or “bad” abstraction, and it endowed him (via Lukács) with the concept of Reification – the development of an aspect of Marx’s account of commodity fetishisms. (In commodity fetishism, the commodity is mystified by taking on attributes which properly belong to people. In reification, relations between people assume the form of relations between things.) Adorno interpreted Marx’s theory of value as a sociology of cultural form. Later (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1944), utilizing elements of Nietzsche’s anthropology, he extended this reading into a critique of the structure of equivalence inherent in thought itself. The relationship of exchange between commodities, whereby each is reduced to its equivalent value (socially necessary labour time) becomes the interpretative model for the communicative dimension of instrumental reason, whereby each object is reduced to an common set of abstract properties (pragmatically defined by the interest of self-preservation). Adorno called this form of thought identitythinking, in contrast to the non-identity of negative dialectics.

15 Adorno’s prohibition on positive totalizations, either they violate it or they must be interpreted in another, more negative way: as provocations, perhaps, stylistically deliberate exaggerations. (“Only the exaggerations are true” is another of Adorno’s well-known aphorisms about Psychoanalysis.) All of Adorno’s writings display an acute sensitivity to the question of philosophical language. In this respect, it is Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life (1951), more of a cross between Friedrich Schlegel’s Philosophical Fragments and Benjamin’s One-Way Street (1928) than anything like a work in the philosophy of history, which is his most characteristic work. Attacked from a variety of positions since the late 1960s for their pessimistic attitude to political change, and their rigorous theoretical negativity, Adorno’s writings have recently been the object of a revived interest. This has mainly concerned the rich theoretical detail of Adorno’s Aesthetics, but the advent of Poststructuralism has provided a broader context for the reconsideration of Adorno’s place in the history of philosophy. The relevance of his work to current debates in both philosophical and cultural theory remains a heated issue.

Reading Adorno, Theodor W. 1951 (1978): Minima Moralia. Reflections from Damaged Life. —— 1955 (1982): Prisms. —— 1966 (1990): Negative Dialectics. —— 1970a (1984): Aesthetic Theory. —— 1991: The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. Adorno, Theodor W. and Horkheimer, Max 1944 (1979): Dialectic of Enlightenment. Buck-Morss, Susan 1977: The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and the Frankfurt Institute. Jameson, Frederic 1990: Late Marxism: Adorno, or, The Persistence of Dialectic. Jay, Martin 1984a: Adorno. Roberts, David 1991: Art and Enlightenment: Aesthetic Theory After Adorno. Rose, Gillian 1978: The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno. Zuidervaart, Lambert 1991: Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory: The Redemption of Illusion.

peter osborne

aesthetic, black

See Black aesthetic

aesthetic, black

Adorno’s Marxism is thus at once apparently orthodox in its assertion of the law of value, yet radically heterodox in its allegorical expansion of its scope to cover the totality of human relations across the whole of human history. (For Marx, it applied only to the capitalist mode of production.) Originally developed by Lukács to explain the barriers to the emergence of a revolutionary subjectivity, at a particular stage of capitalist development, reification becomes descriptive of a permanent feature of the human condition, so far. This process reaches its apogee in the thesis of the “totally administered society,” a nightmare scenario provocatively sketched by Adorno and Horkheimer as a warning of the developmental tendencies of capitalist and state socialist societies alike in the postwar period. (The thesis was popularized in the 1960s by Marcuse in One-Dimensional Man (Marcuse, 1964).) Abstracted from the broader context of Marxist theory (and particularly from its account of class relations, which Adorno considered empirically outdated) and generalized, the idea of reification has more in common with a paranoid version of Max Weber’s “iron cage” of societal rationalization than anything recognizably Marxist, although it does resonate with a certain Trotskyist hostility to bureaucracy. (Adorno shared an extremely hostile attitude to developments in the Soviet Union.) Adorno’s use of psychoanalytic concepts is similarly unorthodox, yet also immensely suggestive. Following the pioneering early work of Eric Fromm (1932), psychoanalytical concepts are transferred from the level of the individual to the domain of the social and historical, in a number of different ways. Sometimes the transference is allegorical – in the characterization of fascism as the “revenge of repressed nature,” for example. Elsewhere it is more systematic, such as in the large collective empirical study The Authoritarian Personality (Adorno et al., 1950), although this work, through which Adorno was known in the English-speaking world until the late 1960s, is, ironically, methodologically extemely atypical of his thought. Adorno’s more grandiose historico-philosophical speculations were the product of his collaboration with Horkheimer: the “shared philosophy” to which he so often referred. They are highly ambiguous, for if they are read in the context of


16 aesthetics The reflection on art and beauty is allegedly to be found in several different cultures at several different periods. The philosophical sophistication of such reflection in Ancient Greece is attested by Plato’s Hippias Major and Aristotle’s Poetics, which were formative texts for the Western tradition, but until very recently there was nothing in this tradition comparable with the level of Chinese reflection on painting reached in a text such as Chang Yen-yüan’s ninthcentury Li-Tai Ming-hua Chi (Record of Famous Paintings). Yet it would be extremely imprudent to collect these and other examples of reflection on art and beauty under the title of “aesthetics.” The latter is not only of modern origin, but its preoccupations, direction of analysis, and consequently its internal system of division and classification are specifically European and should not be applied to either premodern or nonEuropean materials. The term is first used in connection with art and beauty by the German rationalist philosopher Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten in his Reflections on Poetry (1735) and developed subsequently in his Aesthetica (1750–8). In the former Baumgarten introduced aesthetics at the very end of his analysis, referring to the Greek origins of the term in the contrast between aestheta or “things perceived” and noeta or “things known.” The reasons for coining the new term were twofold. Baumgarten was a follower of the German rationalist philosopher Christian Wolff, and was responding to two problems in the Wolffian philosophy. The first was the place of Art within a rational system of philosophy; the second the relationship between reason and sensibility. He began writing the Reflections in the form of a commentary on Horace’s Ars Poetica in order to solve the first problem, but realized in the course of composition that the two problems were related: beauty was none other than rational perfection expressed in sensuous form. The outcome in both the Reflections and the Aesthetica was a systematically equivocal definition of aesthetics as, on the one hand, a doctrine of sensibility, and on the other, a philosophy of art. The equivocation persists in Kant’s extremely influential use of the term: in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) aesthetic refers to the analysis of sensibility and the forms of intuition space and time; yet in the Critique of Judgement (1790) it

refers to the philosophical analysis of beauty. Kant’s analysis in the latter text, seen by many as inaugurating modern European aesthetics, may be read in two ways. In the first reading, Kant presents a justification of the universality and necessity of aesthetic judgment, one concerned largely with the reception of art, but with hints of an account of its production in the discussion of “genius.” In the second reading, however, Kant is seen as critically undermining the dominant, modern philosophical Discourses on beauty and art – Baumgarten’s “aesthetics” and the theory of “taste” – and leaving the outcome open, content to point to the paradoxes which inevitably beset modern philosophical reflection upon art and beauty. At stake in the two readings of Kant is nothing less than the validity of the aesthetic form of reflection on art outside of the temporally and geographically specific confines of the culture from which it emerged. The first reading accepts that aesthetic judgments may be universally and necessarily valid, while the second is skeptical of any such claim. The latter view suggests that aesthetics as the philosophical discourse on art and beauty is inseparable from a system of culturally specific oppositions, of which the most significant are “sense and reason,” “matter and form,” “spirit and letter,” “expression and expressed,” “pleasure and finality,” and “freedom and necessity.” On this view aesthetics as a discourse on art and beauty remains firmly within the parameters of these oppositions, however ingeniously they may be refined or developed. For this reason critics of aesthetics maintain that it should not uncritically be extended to the works of art and criticism of other cultures and periods. On this view, to speak of “medieval aesthetics” or the “aesthetics of Japanese calligraphy” is to subordinate these discourses and objects to a modern, Western European System of values. It is of course possible to apply the aesthetic distinctions of “matter and form” or “sense and reason” to Tang dynasty painting or to Chang Yen-yüan’s treatise, but only at the risk of losing much of its significance in the course of translation into the terms of aesthetics. For this reason twentieth-century meditations on art such as those of Heidegger in his “Dialogue of language” and Beckett in “Three dialogues” choose deliberately to suspend the received framework of


Reading Benjamin, Andrew and Osborne Peter 1991: Thinking Art: Beyond Traditional Aesthetics. Caygill, Howard 1989: Art of Judgement. Eagleton, Terry 1990: The Ideology of the Aesthetic.

gregory elliott

affective fallacy A term central to New criticism, which derives from the title of an essay by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley, “The affective fallacy” (1949). The essay seeks to promote an “objective criticism” in which attention is directed exclusively to the artifact itself. Its purported “classical objectivity” (as against “romantic reader psychology”) concerns itself with giving an account of the poem (the New Critics tend to privilege Poetry in their work, but the concept is equally applicable to other genres) as the cause of an emotion, rather than of the emotion expressed or effected by the poem.

Reading Wimsatt, W.K. and Beardsley, Monroe C. 1949 (1954): “The affective fallacy.”

peter widdowson

African philosophy The qualification of philosophy as “African” is consistent with the custom of naming philosophical traditions and practices according to their cultural, ethnic, national, or merely geographic origins, thus we have “American philosophy,” “Jewish philosophy,” “British philosophy,” “German philosophy,” or “French philosophy.” Following Vincent Descombes (1980) who defines “contemporary French philosophy” as “coincident with the sum of the discourses elaborated in France and considered by the public of today as philosophical,” African philosophy may be said to consist of all intellectual and discursive productions elaborated in Africa and considered “philosophical” by today’s public. But this imitative definition fails to capture the historical, political, and cultural contradictions and complexities which animate the historical dynamics of “African philosophy” as an academic and professional tradition.

For example, when one attempts to extend the meaning of the qualifier “African” beyond the scope of its geographical meaning, it becomes notoriously difficult to define what kind of philosophical production is “African” or not. If the designation “African philosophy” is meant to highlight the ethnic/cultural origin of the philosophy in question, then should one not speak of African philosophies rather than philosophy in the singular, since Africa is made up of markedly diverse ethnic/cultural sources/traditions that constitute the philosophic originations? Or is the African identity of a philosopher – irrespective of method or content of her/his philosophy – necessary and/or sufficient to warrant the qualification of such philosophy as belonging to the African tradition? What are the credentials of an intellectual work that would be simultaneously “philosophy” and “African?” Since the end of the 1939–45 war attempts by African (and non-African) philosophers to answer the above questions have generated debates that dominate contemporary discussions on African philosophy. Some thinkers have sought to write the history of African philosophy by appealing to the Egyptian origins of Western philosophy, and then arguing that ancient Egyptian philosophy and science represent the classical flourishing of civilizations that originated and remained influential in “the Heart of Negro lands” (the Nubia, Galla, Zimbabwe, Somalia, etc.) (Diop, 1974). In addition to Chiek Anta Diop, other scholars who take this “ancient Egypt” route in the (re)construction of the history of African philosophy include Theophilus Obenga (1973; 1990), Osabutey (1936), G. James (1954), and Henry Olela (1980), and their works have found considerable support from Martin Bernal’s influential volumes The Black Athena (1987–). Other philosophers such as Lacinay Keita, however, (re)construct a history of African philosophy by tracing/documenting the trajectory of philosophical activities from ancient and medieval Islamic north Africa (Timbuktu, Songhai, the Ghana empire, and the Sudanic states of central Africa). It is pointed out that the north African– Arab Islamic scholarship of about the seventh century ad and onwards was instrumental in the translation and transmission of Greek philosophy, especially the “pagan” Aristotle and his (re)introduction into the European philosophical world.

African philosophy

aesthetic oppositions and cautiously to develop new ways for thinking about art and beauty.

African philosophy

18 (In general, the contribution of the Arab philosophers such as Avicenna and Averroes are also highlighted in this connection.) For example, the efforts of Claude Sumner to translate, document, and analyze the works of the sixteenthcentury Abyssinian rationalist philosopher Zär’a Ya’eqob (1599–1692), Wäldä Heywat, and Skendes, and the resurgent interests in the translation and analysis of the writings of William Amo, a Ghanaian philosopher who taught at the universities of Halle, Wittenberg, and Jena in eighteenth-century Germany, are Paradigmatic of the quest for historical reconstruction of past philosophical enterprises in Africa. Yet there is no disputing the fact that the single most important impetus that drives the contemporary field of African philosophy as a disciplinary and professional–academic enterprise goes beyond the technical desire to ascertain its Egyptian, Arab, or Abyssinian origins; rather, this motive must be traced to an experience of crisis. The brutal encounter of the African world with European modernity constitutes a crisis of indescribable proportions whose tragic reality and history is incarnated and marked in the institutions of slavery, colonialism, and the ideologies of European cultural and racial superiority. Natural historians, anthropologists, and philosophers of the European Enlightenment speculated widely on the nature of the African “mind” which they generally agreed was “magical,” “mystical,” “irrational,” and therefore “inferior.” For example, the philosophers Hume, Kant, and Hegel each depicted the African world as “dark,” “savage,” “primitive,” etc. The institution of anthropology as a scientific discipline subsequently lent scientific respectability to these speculations, and so we have Lévy-Bruhl and Evans-Pritchard producing works that described the African mind as either prelogical or “mystical” (as opposed to “rational”). These anthropological productions, often commissioned after the military invasion of an African territory or after a rebellion against occupying European powers (Asad, 1973; Achebe, 1988), were intended to provide the European administrations and missionary cultural workers with information about the “primitive” African mind, so that they could properly inculcate into the African conscience European values and cultural attitudes. It is within this context that the significance of Father

Placide Tempels’s controversial book, Bantu Philosophy (1945), must be understood. As stated by the author, the aim of the book is to teach the colonialists the cultural “philosophy,” or more strictly, the world view and the belief systems of the African in order that the European evangelization and “civilizatory” work will succeed, and succeed in a self-sustaining manner. Tempels’s book is therefore predominantly a work of exposition of the ontological systems of the Baluba, an ethnic group in Zaire where Tempels, a Belgian Franciscan missionary, worked for many years. Tempels believed that the Baluba–African ontology grounds and regulates the daily ethical, political, and economic existence of the African, and therefore in order to elevate the “pagan” existence of the African to “civilization,” one must work through this ontological system which grounds the existential interiority of the Bantu. However, the historical significance of Tempels’s work lies in the author’s explicit use of the term “philosophy” in the title of the book to designate an intellectual product associated with the African, in this case the Bantu of Zaire. Whereas the anthropologist spoke of savage “mentality” or primitive “thought,” Tempels spoke of philosophy; and this designation is crucial because philosophy, to the Western mind, is the honorific term symbolizing the highest exercise of the faculty of reason. To acknowledge the existence of an African philosophy, then, is to acknowledge the existence of African reason, and hence African humanity. This notion flies in the face of the entire edifice of colonialism which was built precisely on the negation of this possibility. The African is subhuman because s/he is “irrational,” “prelogical,” etc., and therefore can never produce philosophy: hence, the revolutionary potential of Bantu Philosophy. Tempels’s book, then, was fruitfully ambiguous. The author intended it to be a “handbook” for the missionary cultural worker: a plea to the European colonialist administrator or missionary that the African’s “philosophy” and culture ought to be understood and respected in order for the “civilizing” mission to succeed. However, the ambiguous yet fruitful conjunction of “philosophy” as an implicit ontological system which underlies and sustains an African communal world view, and the honorific notion of “philosophy” as the highest rational (human) achievement

19 these practices. African philosophy, in this sense, became the analysis of cultural/oral institutional and linguistic traditions, such as Alexis Kagame’s La Philosophie Bantoue–Rwandaise de l’Être (1956) or Barry Hallen and J.O. Sodipo’s “analytic experiments” in Yoruba philosophy (1986). Kwame Gyekye’s An Essay in African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme (1987) and William Abraham’s The Mind of Africa (1962), or the Reverend John Mibiti’s popular African Philosophy and Religions (1992) may be classified as belonging to this ethnophilosophic strand. The second strand, inspired more indirectly by Tempels’s work, developed more overtly political, anti-colonial, and ideological tendencies. Freedom fighters and political leaders such as Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo in Nigeria, Julius Nyerere in Tanzania, Leopold Sedar Senghor in Senegal, Oginga Odinga in Kenya, Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, and most of all, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana each produced varying amounts of philosophical-political works that have recourse to resilient elements of native African cultural traditions. In traditions such as communalism, these leaders and thinkers endeavored to elicit and develop various forms of “African socialism” and ideological theories of cultural “authenticity” that would empower Africa to emancipate itself and build an autonomous future. Representative works in this area are Nyerere’s Ujamma: Essays On Socialism (1968), Nkrumah’s Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization and Development with Particular Reference to the African Revolution (1964), or Senghor’s three-volume Liberté (1964; 1971; and 1977). This trend in the development of African philosophy is called “political-ideological philosophy.” Tempels and ethnophilosophy, however, have always had their critics (such as Franz Crahay, Robin Horton, etc.); but especially since the mid-1970s in Africa, there has arisen a loose group of African philosophers, highly trained in the techniques of modern Western philosophy, usually in French and British universities, who designated themselves as “professional philosophers” and who constituted themselves as a group in/through their mutual opposition to the idea of philosophy propagated by Tempels and his disciples. Included in this group are Paulin Houtondji, Odera Oruka, Kwasi Wiredu, and

African philosophy

was not lost on the emerging African intelligentsia. Tempels’s book collapsed the ideological scaffold that had supported racism and colonialism, and the book became for these Africans a manual for revolt. With the discovery in Africa of “Bantu philosophy,” and the emergence in the United States of the Harlem Renaissance – with its philosophers and intellectuals, Alain Locke, Claude McKay, W.E.B. Du Bois and others – where Africans in the diaspora were already engaged in the critique of African colonialism and the racism of the New World, a third movement in the history of African philosophy was born: Négritude. As a literary and cultural/philosophical movement originated in Paris by African and Afro-Caribbean students, Négritude, through Aimé Césaire and Leopold Sedar Senghor among others, found in Bantu Philosophy and in the pluralist anthropologies of Frobenius, Herskovits, and Delafosse sympathetic arguments to show that Africa has “philosophy.” Each of the three movements mentioned above prompted reexaminations of various European theorizings about Africa and the African “mind,” such as those of Hume, Kant, Hegel and evolutionist anthropology. The idea of “African philosophy” as a field of inquiry thus has its contemporary roots in the effort of African thinkers to examine, question, and contest identities imposed upon them by Europeans; and the claims and counterclaims, justifications, and Alienations that characterize such contests indelibly mark the discipline. Two of the earliest strands that developed out of this African attempt were both a counter Discourse and a theoretical articulation and (re)construction of a historical and cultural autonomy: the “ethnophilosophy” strand remained faithful to Tempels and continued the traditions of exposing and analyzing African world views to elicit and distill ontologies, Ethics, metaphysics, political and aesthetic theories from the languages and other cultural institutions of the African peoples. Since the West deemed philosophy or the possession of philosophic traditions as a sign of the attainment of full humanity, it is no wonder that, in the face of the denigration of their humanity, the impulse of the Africans thinkers was to research, using phenomenologic and interpretative methods, their native traditions, customs, languages, etc. to show the “philosophicness” of

African philosophy

20 Peter Bodunrin, although each brings specific emphasis and nuances to his critique of Tempels and/or ethnophilosophy. This “school” of African philosophy maintains that, although philosophy operates within/on a culture, it is a universal, scientific discipline/method of inquiry, so that to speak of “African” philosophy is simply to identify either the geographic or the authorial origin of that particular philosophical work. This group of self-designated “professional” philosophers accuses ethnophilosophy of failing to be a “strict” philosophy because it is communal, relies on unwritten sources, and, in fact, it is (premodern), unscientific. For Houtondji (1983), for example, philosophy is born only where there is (modern) science, and one cannot (yet) speak of “African science.” Yet, Oruka, although himself one of the “professional” philosophers, rejects the negative connotations of some of these conditions, such as those ascribed to orality. One can say that Oruka’s well-known University of Nairobi “Sage Philosophy Project” is a sustained attempt to overcome the critical questions of orality and collectivism of thought implied in the criticism of ethnophilosophy by producing named individuals who do philosophy in the oral tradition. (See Oruka’s Sage Philosophy: Indigenous Thinkers and Modern Debates in Philosophy, 1990.) The other members of the “professional” philosophy quartet, Wiredu and Bodurin, however, conceive of philosophy as a specifically modern (European) invention with a universal method which can be applied to the analysis and critique of African Cultures. Wiredu, for example, demonstrates this in his Philosophy in an African Culture (1980). Critical ethnophilosophy, as well as works in line with the modernist streak of the self-proclaimed “professional” philosophers, are flourishing in philosophy departments in Africa, and in North America, an emerging growth area in the field of African philosophy is in the critical–hermeneutic and deconstructive trends, where emphasis is brought to bear on the historical understanding and interpretation of the African colonial and postcolonial situation in conjunction with, or linked to the Deconstruction of the Western ideological and philosophic–epistemological Canons that theorize the African out of reason and denigrate African humanity. In this deconstructive vein, works by V.Y. Mudimbe (1988), Tsenay Serequeberhan (1994), Anthony Appiah (1992), Lucius Outlaw (1987), Emmanuel Eze (1993), among

others, challenge the longstanding exclusion of Africa, or more accurately, its inclusion as the negative “Other” of reason and the Western World in the mainstream traditions of modern European philosophy. Their philosophies, in conjunction with, for example, the feminist and other marginalized clusters of progressive critique and critical resistance, excavate and problematize the significance of race, Gender, and other cultural embeddedness of philosophical practice which have been long ignored. For most in this group, the rereading and reinterpreting of the precocious works of radical African philosophers and thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, and Aimé Césaire yield the fruits of rapprochement between African and Afro-American philosophy, as evidenced in the growing interest in the concept of “Africana philosophy” as an organizing notion for the constellation of the traditions of philosophy in Africa and the diaspora.

Reading Appiah, Kwame Anthony 1992: In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture. Bernal, Martin 1987: The Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization. Cabral, Amilcar 1973: Return to the Source: Selected Speeches of Amilcar Cabral. Césaire, Aimé 1972: Discourse On Colonialism. Diop, C.A. 1974: The African Origin of Civilization. Fanon, Frantz 1952 (1989): Black Skin, White Masks. Floistad, G., ed. 1987: Contemporary Philosophy: A New Survey. Harris, Leonard, ed. 1983: Philosophy Born of Struggle: Anthology of Afro-American Philosophy from 1917. Houtondji, Paulin 1983: African Philosophy: Myth or Reality. Kagame, Alexis 1975: La philosophie bantoue–rwandaise de l’être. Masolo, D.A. 1994: African Philosophy in Search of Identity. Mudimbe, V.Y. 1988: The Invention of African: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge. Nkrumah, Kwame 1964: Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization and Development with Particular Reference to the African Revolution. Oruka, Odera 1990b: Sage Philosophy: Indigenous Thinkers and Modern Debates about African Philosophy. Serequberhan, Tsenay 1994: The Hermeneutics of African Philosophy: Horizon and Discourse. —— ed. 1992: African Philosophy: The Essential Reading. Tempels, Placide 1969: Bantu Philosophy. Wiredu, Kwasi 1980: Philosophy in an African Culture.

emmanuel chukwudi eze

21 is solely a gay male undertaking. For example, one of the first stories to deal with AIDS in a mainstream publication is Susan Sontag’s 1986 short story “The way we live now.” In the realm of nonfiction, some of the earliest writings are memoirs by mothers who have lost their sons, as well as wives coping with husbands dying from AIDS. In recent years, there has emerged a substantial body of popular AIDS writing from an openly gay point of view. Writers such as David Feinberg, Sarah Schulman, and Thom Gunn, as well as younger writers whose work is published in compilations, are approaching AIDS with a sense of honesty and power, foregrounding vital issues of sexuality and Gender during the time of an epidemic. The idea that AIDS is strictly a “gay disease” has led some recent gay male writers, such as Peter Cameron, to eschew the topic. Yet the absence of AIDS from some recent gay fiction does not necessarily connote indifference. Some critics feel that such an absence disrupts the representation of gay as a “high risk” group. In showing that there are only “high risk” behaviors, such absence prevents marginalization of gays. However, others feel the absence of any discussion of AIDS ultimately diminishes the work since it is not fully expressive of modern gay life. Regardless, AIDS has inevitably changed the way that gay literature and, quite possibly, all literature is written and read. In terms of classification and Genre, literature dealing with AIDS can be seen as a “literature of crisis,” a term denoting works emerging from moments of historical crises, such as the writings of Jews during the Holocaust as well as AfroAmericans during slavery. Emmanuel S. Nelson (1992) wishes to resist such comparisons; he notes that though there are “some formal similarities, ideological affinities, and spiritual connections among” other writings produced during historical moments of crises, there is a “uniqueness [in] the literature of AIDS” (p. 3). AIDS and its textual representations exist in a sphere of overlapping medical, social, and literary discourses associated mainly with those on the margins (primarily gays, intravenous drug users, and sex workers). This marginalized status makes it problematic to place a strict label such as “literature of crisis” on this body of literature. This ambiguity in classification extends to placing such writings in a historical genre.

AIDS and literature

AIDS and literature Since the mid-1980s, there has been an artistic response to the AIDS crisis which crosses various modes of literary production in both the Western and non-Western worlds. Though many recent artistic endeavors reflect the changing ways in which we view sex and sexuality, a specific literary response addresses AIDS and its various representations. It is important to note that it is impossible and undesirable to create a “coherent” body of AIDS literature; the response is too varied. Yet, with such a disclaimer in mind, this entry will attempt to point out some of the literature and the critical work emerging in response to the disease, invariably making such generalizations as one desires to avoid. In the West, the literary response to AIDS has largely taken the form of nonfiction and fiction writings (short stories, novels, and Poetry), while in non-Western countries, the response is more closely associated with performance-oriented forms of Discourse. These responses to the AIDS crisis, in both the West and non-Western worlds, are intimately connected with theater and other means of “modern” representation, such as film, television, newspapers, magazines, informational pamphlets and, most recently, electronic newsgroups. This entry will focus solely on the nonfiction and fiction Writings, excluding drama, since it is too large a topic to approach here. However, in limiting the focus to written creative works, the intent is not to imply that such writings exist outside the sphere of other AIDS Discourses, such as the medical research and media coverage of the disease or the academic sociological writings of activists such as Cindy Patton and Douglas Crimp. The writings discussed here are inevitably connected with such work; though television movies on AIDS such as An Early Frost or various brochures on “safe sex” are not explicitly discussed, such forms of AIDS representations inform and overlap in various ways with fiction and nonfiction writings. The interdisciplinary nature of AIDS discourse cannot be ignored when considering AIDS-related literature. In Western countries, communities of gay men were among the most traumatized at the beginning of the crisis; therefore much of the writing, both fiction and nonfiction, is written by gay male authors, many of whom are suffering from AIDS or HIV infection. However, as Judith Lawrence Pastore (1993) points out, it is inaccurate to assume that literature dealing with AIDS


22 Several essays collected in Nelson’s book address the topic of genre. Laurel Brodsley finds Daniel Defoe’s seventeenth-century novel The Journal of the Plague Year a suitable Paradigm for recent nonfiction works like Randy Shilts’s And the Band Played On and Paul Monette’s Borrowed Time, while Gregory Woods contextualizes poetry dealing with AIDS in the broader elegiac tradition of English poetry. However, critics such as Joseph Dewey problematize such stable models for the literature(s) of AIDS, since such genres as plague literature or elegies are anachronistic to the postmodern reality of AIDS and do not encompass the spirit of activist resistance present in such writings. Robert Franke (1993) feels that the characteristics of both fiction and nonfiction AIDS writing suggest the development of a new genre, one which acknowledges the failure of modern science to support the complex realities of human experience. There is also much discussion on the political component necessary in literature addressing AIDS. Pastore assumes that “literary AIDS” must have clear-cut pedagogical goals, “to dispel unwarranted fears . . . [and] overcome homophobia” (pp. 3–4). Such politicized goals are indeed critical and addressed in many AIDS writings, emerging in large part from the activism with which many of these writers are concerned. However, such a limited view of literature dealing with AIDS dismisses the multifaceted levels on which such writings operate to merely a political and educational one; aesthetic issues explored by recent writers are devalued in such a framework if such experimentation is not viewed as politically expedient. Such issues, as well as related questions like whether writings about AIDS have the ability to create compassion and understanding about the disease in its readers, remain highly debatable. The magnitude of the literary response to AIDS makes it a difficult task to address in any significant capacity. Therefore, this overview inevitably leaves out critical issues and contributions of important writers. The literatures of AIDS are both omnipresent and unrecognizable in various degrees. In focusing on one aspect of the response, this entry cannot help but encounter the other fields responding to AIDS. Any study attempting an understanding of AIDS writing must recognize the impact of the media

and the medical field in our understanding of this disease. Writing AIDS is much more than intertextual; it is a phenomenon of Culture situated in an overlapping area of discourse which is not merely a site of academic study, but rather a matter of life and death.

Reading Avena, Thomas, ed. 1994: Life Sentence: Writers, Artists, and AIDS. Cameron, Peter 1994: The Weekend. Collard, Cyril 1989 (1993): Savage Nights. Franke, Robert G. 1993: “Beyond good doctor, bad doctor: AIDS fiction and biography as a developing genre.” Gunn, Thom 1992: The Man with Night Sweats. Klusacek, Allan, and Morrison, Ken, eds 1993: A Leap in the Dark: AIDS, Art and Contemporary Culture. Miller, Timothy F. and Poirier, Suzanne, eds 1993: Writing AIDS: Gay Literature, Language and Analysis. Monette, Paul 1988: Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. Nelson, Emmanuel S., ed. 1992: AIDS: The Literary Response. Pastore, Judith Laurence, ed. 1993: Confronting AIDS through Literature: The Responsibilities of Representation. Patton, Cindy 1990: Inventing AIDS. Peck, Dale 1993: Martin and John. Preston, John, ed. 1989: Personal Dispatches: Writers Confront AIDS. Schulman, Sarah 1990: People in Trouble. Shilts, Randy 1987: And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic. Sontag, Susan 1986 (1988): “The way we live now.”

kenneth j. urban

alienation As defined by Marx in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844), alienation is a specific historical condition in which man experiences a separation from nature, other human beings, and especially the products of his labor. Since man creates himself through labor, all of these forms of alienation imply an alienation of man from himself. For Hegel, alienation was a philosophical concept expressing one aspect of the process of self-objectification: in the dialectical process, Spirit objectified itself in nature (a stage in which it was alienated from itself ) and then returned to itself. Marx regards alienation as a product of the evolution of division of labor, private property, and the state: when these phenomena reach an advanced stage, as in capitalist

23 classical norms and precepts of genre identity; and the large-scale “reworking” (Umfunktionierung) of plays from the established repertoire, such as Brecht’s treatment of Coriolanus as a commentary on moral and political issues raised by the East German workers’ rising of 1953. It could also entail the staging of didactic “parables” (Lehrstücke) which presented these issues in a starkly paradoxical form, and which thus held out against the audience’s so-called “natural” tendency to identify vicariously with characters perceived as tragic protagonists or victims of social injustice. Brecht’s purpose was not (of course) to lessen our sense of such injustice but to jolt us into thinking about the events on stage in a more critical, more detached, and thus (potentially) more activist mode of concern. See also Defamiliarization; Formalism.

Reading Reading Geyer, R.F. 1992: Alienation, Society and the Individual. Israel, J. 1971: Alienation, from Marx to Modern Sociology. Meszaros, I. 1970: Marx’s Theory of Alienation. Schweitzer, D. and Geyer, R.F., eds 1989: Alienation Theories and Alienation Strategies.

susan r. skand

alienation effect (Verfremdungseffekt) A term first used by the German Marxist playwright, dramaturge, poet, literary theorist, and political thinker Bertolt Brecht, deployed in a variety of contexts to suggest the idea of a deliberate break with those traditional values (verisimilitude, unity of action, audience participation, tragic catharsis, the imaginative “suspension of disbelief,” etc.) which Brecht saw as deeply bound up with the hegemony of bourgeois aesthetic, social, and political institutions. Hence – he argued – the need for a truly revolutionary theater that would exploit every means of disrupting and subverting such routine habits of response. These might include the introduction of strikingly anomalous or anachronistic details in order to break the realist illusion; the use of conspicuous devices (for example, on-stage commentary or actors speaking “out of character”) to similar defamiliarizing effect; the juxtaposition of incongruous styles – including elements of dance and song – to undermine the

Benjamin, Walter 1973: Understanding Brecht. Brecht, Bertolt 1978: Brecht on Theatre. Willett, John 1984: Brecht in Context.

christopher norris

Althusser, Louis (1918–90) French Communist philosopher. One of the most notable Marxist theoreticians of the postwar period, Althusser’s comprehensive reconstruction of Marxist philosophy and social theory won him a large intellectual following throughout Western Europe and Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s. In For Marx and Reading “Capital” (1965), Althusser and his collaborators (including Etienne Balibar and Pierre Macherey) subjected actually existing Marxism to swingeing critique on account of its alleged Hegelianism. According to Althusser, the seemingly antithetical traditions of orthodox Marxism (Kautsky or Stalin) and Western Marxism (Lukács or Sartre) exhibited the common vice of Historicism. Whether in the guise of economism or Humanism, both tendencies cancelled Marx’s departure from the German idealism of his youth by construing historical materialism as a philosophy of history. As pseudo-materialist inversions of Hegelian theodicy, they each depicted human history as an expressive totality or process, with an origin, a center, a subject, and a goal. Economism – typical of Stalinist orthodoxy from the mid-1920s

Althusser, Louis

society, the individual experiences the entire objective world as a conglomeration of alien forces standing over and above him. In this sense, alienation can only be overcome by the revolutionary abolition of the economic system based on private property. Alienation is also a central concept in sociology, a centrality deriving in part from Max Weber’s recognition of the individual’s feeling of helplessness in a “disenchanted” world governed by rational, bureacratic, and impersonal institutions. Existentialists, notably Heidegger and Sartre, have also centralized this concept, viewing it not as the symptom of given historical configurations but as a defining condition of existence. The concept of alienation has also reverberated widely through the various branches of psychology. See also Estrangement.

Althusser, Louis

24 – constituted a technological Determinism, positing a metanarrative of the advance of the productive forces towards an ineluctable communism. Humanism – characteristic of the anti-Stalinist reaction in the 1950s and 1960s – represented a teleological philosophical anthropology, projecting an odyssey of the human essence, from its Alienation in Class society to its reappropriation in a classless future. Althusser’s objections were at once analytical and political: abstracting from the specificities of concrete historical conjunctures, all such schematism precluded the requisite comprehension – hence possible transformation – of them. The Althusserian reformation – the professed “return to Marx” – encompassed three interdependent endeavors: (i) an epistemological history of the foundation and development of Marxism – in the first instance, by a rereading of Marx’s own heterogeneous oeuvre; (ii) the elaboration of a historical epistemology which would identify the substance, and clarify the status, of Marx’s “materialist conception of history”; and (iii) the renovation of Historical materialism as a nonhistoricist theory of modes of production and Social formations. The Symptomatic reading of Marx conducted by Althusser revolved around the postulate of a profound conceptual and epistemological discontinuity between the supposedly nonMarxist “early works” of 1840–4 and the unevenly Marxist texts of 1845–6 onwards. The “epistemological break” effected in The German Ideology (Marx and Engels, 1932) separated distinct and irreconcilable theoretical “problematics” – the one, tributary to left-Hegelianism, amounting to nothing more than the repetition of an ideological philosophy of history; the other, peculiar to Marx, summing up to nothing less than the initiation of the science of history. However, this “theoretical revolution” had merely been commenced by Marx. He had opened up the “continent of History” to scientific exploration – above all, in the three volumes of Capital – founding a research program which remained to be developed, not bequeathing a fixed doctrine which need only be quoted, by his successors. The import of Althusser’s interpretation was affirmation of the scientificity of historical materialism, and yet insistence upon its incompletion, not only as a consequence of the inevitable

limitations of Marx’s own achievement, but also as a normal correlate of its scientific status. Althusser renounced the materialist metaphysic of the Second and Third Internationals, according to which Marxism was a self-sufficient cosmology or “world view,” the accomplished science of anything, everything and nothing. Instead, he conceived historical materialism as a “finite” theory of history, in principle committed to incessant development and susceptible to recurrent rectification, which did not own exclusive rights to the production of objective knowledge of human phenomena. As Francis Mulhern (1994, p. 160) observes, “[t]he theoretical field within which [Althusser] situated Marx’s science was . . . the new ‘quadrivium’ of history, ethnology, psychoanalysis and linguistics, and their lingua franca, ‘structuralism’. The pursuit of scientificity here meant the repudiation of intellectual autarky.” Variously indebted to Spinozist rationalism and French conventionalist philosophy of science, Althusserian epistemology therefore rejected the canonical “dialectical materialism” systematized by Stalin as the general science of the laws of nature, history, and thought. Althusser’s alternative – the “theory of theoretical practice” – sought to secure the cognitive autonomy of the sciences against the intrusions of politics. At the same time, it wished to recognize their Relative autonomy as socio-historical products. It did so by maintaining that any society was “a complex unity of ‘social practice’,” which could be divided into four practices: economic, political, ideological, and theoretical. Each possessed the transformative structure of the labor process as dissected by Marx, entailing the three “moments” of raw material, means of production, and product. Thus, the production of knowledge was the fruit of theoretical practice, comprising raw material in the form of existing facts and concepts; means of production in the shape of a problematic (or theoretical matrix); and products, knowledge(s). Contrary to the “empiricist conception of knowledge,” Althusser conceived the cognitive process – the production of concepts by means of concepts – as wholly intra-theoretical. Its starting point and end product were conceptual “objects of knowledge.” Via the “theoretical object” (for example, “Fordism”), knowledge of a “real object” (for example, contemporary

25 “specific effectivity.” They were not, however, independent, for they were governed by a “structural causality” whereby economic “determination in the last instance” operated through the permutation of “dominance” between the various structures in different social formations (in feudal societies, for example, the political is dominant; in capitalist, the economic). The third component of the Althusserian recasting of historical materialism (largely elaborated by Balibar) bore upon a nonevolutionist theory of modes of production. Abandoning technological determinism, Balibar reconfigured modes of production as articulated – and not inherently contradictory – combinations of forces and relations of production, under the primacy of the latter. Consequently, they were not transient phenomena whose sequential rise and fall were determined by iron laws of history, but self-reproducing totalities. According to Balibar’s account of the transition from one mode of production to another, the ultimate “motor of history” was the struggle between contending social classes. Yet Marxism was not a Humanism. On Althusser’s understanding of history, it was a “process without a subject,” in which social structures had primacy over the human agents who were their “bearers.” Individuals were individuated, constituted as social identities by and in Ideology, materialized in Ideological state apparatuses (for example, the family and schools), via the mechanism of Interpellation (1984, pp. 1– 60). Althusser’s fourth contribution to historical materialism drew upon the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan to theorize ideology as the realm of the “imaginary.” In it the real relations between subject and society were inverted, such that individuals lived those relations as if they were the “subjects of ” them, rather than “subject to” them. Ideology was the set of representations of people’s “imaginary relations” to their conditions of existence requisite for them to function as social agents in any conceivable society. There would be no end to ideology under Communism. The Althusserian enterprise was one of remarkable scope and originality, seductively combining political radicalism – a quasi-Maoist stance to the left of mainstream Communism – and philosophical modernism – selective affinities with structuralism. It came as a liberation to a younger generation and defined the terms of Marxist

Althusser, Louis

British capitalism) was appropriated in thought. The theory of theoretical practice aspired to be both a “materialism,” accepting the primacy of objective reality, which existed independently of theories of it; and an anti-empiricism, asserting the indispensability of theory as the discursive construction of that reality. Furthermore, it maintained that, once theoretical practices had crossed the threshold of scientificity, they required neither philosophical guarantees nor external confirmation of their status; they had their own criteria of verification. The Althusserian reconstruction of historical materialism consisted of four main themes. The first was a recasting of the Marxist “dialectic.” Althusser criticized the traditional interpretation of the Marx–Hegel relationship as the materialist “inversion” of an idealist construct. For him any such operation preserved the incorrigibly teleological character of the Hegelian dialectic. This was true, for example, of economism, wherein the contradiction between the forces and relations of production supplied the trans-historical efficient cause of a unilinear social evolution. Instead, Althusser postulated the Overdetermination of any Contradiction. Although hierarchically organized in a determinate (if variable) order, each of the multiple contradictions active in any society was internally marked by the others, which provided its “conditions of existence.” Each was ineliminably real and effective, simultaneously determinant and determined. Political revolutions were therefore not the punctual effects of an economic contradiction that had reached its maturity, but the contingent results of the “condensation” of social contradictions in a “ruptural unity.” A complementary reconceptualization of social formations (societies) aimed to respect their constitutive complexity, by displacing the inherited Base and superstructure topography, and differentiating the Marxist totality from the Hegelian. Any Social formation – feudal, capitalist, communist – was a unified but Decentered structure: a “structure of structures,” subsuming economic, political, and ideological “instances.” The Marxist totality secreted no essence to be expressed nor center to be reflected. Its regional structures were not heteronomous – secondary phenomena subject to an economic first cause. Each of them enjoyed relative autonomy and


26 debate for a period. This was because Althusser reclaimed historical materialism as an open, underdeveloped research program, which did not reduce social phenomena to economic epiphenomena, but promised to grasp them in their concrete specificity, as the “synthesis of many determinations.” As commentators have demonstrated (Elliott, 1987; Mulhern, 1994), Althusserianism sponsored a mass of research and contributed to a series of intellectual initiatives (for example, the literary criticism of Terry Eagleton, the work of the Centre for contemporary cultural studies, the film theory of Screen, or the socialist feminism of Juliet Mitchell). In jettisoning much of Marx, as well as his successors, however, Althusserianism represented an “imaginary Marxism” (a fact its author subsequently acknowledged (1992, p. 221)). Indeed, in retrospect it can be seen to have constituted a transitional theoretical formation, precariously poised between Marxism and Poststructuralism, one of whose unintended consequences was to facilitate a transfer of intellectual allegiances from the one to the other. The principal determinant of this process was political – the series of reverses experienced by the European Left in the 1970s, which induced a general decline in the reputation of Marxism. However, it possessed a theoretical rationale. For whilst Althusser’s innovations were extremely powerful as critiques, problematizing basic assumptions of the Marxist tradition, they were vulnerable as solutions, inviting countercritiques which soon ensued (see Benton, 1984). Thus, for example, the theory of theoretical practice was identified as an unstable compromise between rationalism and conventionalism, from which the indicated escape for many was perspectivism. Anti-humanism met with both philosophical and political objections to its supposed structural determinism (especially in Thompson, 1978), which rendered social change inconceivable and inexplicable. The theory of ideology was convicted of functionalism and residual economism. Relative autonomy was deconstructed as a contradiction in terms, paving the way for “post-Marxist” pluralism. Althusser’s attempt to answer such criticisms and resolve some of the problems of high Althusserianism (see, for example, 1989) is generally agreed

to have foundered. And with the ascendancy of “post-Marxism,” which often effects an antiMarxist radicalization of Althusserian theses, his star was eclipsed, if not quite extinguished. Nevertheless, whatever his current reputation, Althusser can be said to possess three indubitable historical merits (see Callinicos, in Kaplan and Sprinker, 1993). The first is that his rereading of the classics (re)connected Marxism with nonMarxist currents of thought (especially Lacanian Psychoanalysis and Saussurean linguistics), disclaiming a Marxist monopoly of social knowledge and sponsoring new departures across the disciplinary board. Second, his philosophy for science was a commendable endeavor to reconcile the conventionalist critique of Empiricism and Positivism with a realist theory of the natural and social sciences. Third, his assault upon the Hegelian heritage in Marxism released historical materialism from a set of false promissory notes, analytical and political. In these respects, the Althusserian intervention “for Marx” arguably remains part of the theoretical Unconscious of much contemporary cultural and Critical theory, and Althusser’s future may last a long time.

Reading Althusser, L. 1965b (1990): For Marx. —— 1984 (1993): Essays on Ideology. —— 1990: Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists & Other Essays. —— 1992 (1993): The Future Lasts A Long Time and The Facts. —— and Balibar, E. 1965 (1990): Reading “Capital.” Benton, T. 1984: The Rise and Fall of Structural Marxism. Callinicos, A. 1976: Althusser’s Marxism. Elliott, G. 1987: Althusser: The Detour of Theory. —— ed. 1994: Althusser: A Critical Reader. Kaplan, E.A. and Sprinker, M., eds 1993: The Althusserian Legacy. Mulhern, F. 1994: “Message in a bottle: Althusser in literary studies.” Sprinker, M. 1987: Imaginary Relations: Aesthetics and Ideology in the Theory of Historical Materialism. Thompson, E.P. 1978: The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays.

gregory elliott ambiguity An expression is ambiguous if it contains two or more different (usually mutually exclusive) meanings between which the interpreter


Reading Empson, William 1930 (1973): Seven Types of Ambiguity. Bahti, Timothy 1986: “Ambiguity and indeterminacy: the juncture.”

iain wright Amin, Samir (1931–) Egyptian economic historian. Amin is a leading theorist on the economic predicament of Third World countries. A major contributor to United Nations economic dialog, he rejects explanations and development stratagems of the capitalist West. Arguing that capitalist or socialist models neither recognize the realities of the underdeveloped world nor offer solutions, Amin proposes alternative, “polycentric” development strategies under regional direction. Amin has published detailed analyses of economic prospects for West Africa and the Arab World.

Reading Amin, Samir 1990: Maldevelopment: Anatomy of a Global Failure.

thomas c. greaves

analysis, genre

See Genre analysis

analysis, race–class–gender class–gender analysis

See Race–

Anderson, Perry (1938–) Marxist political historian and theorist. One of the foremost contemporary Marxist thinkers, Perry Anderson has been centrally concerned with defining the unity, limitations, and prospects (in his own words, the “historical balance sheet”) of Western Marxism. As editor of the New Left Review, Anderson has spearheaded a project attempting to remedy the deficiency, identified in his essay “Components of a national culture” (1968), of a tradition of Marxism in his native England. This and other issues were to generate a sustained polemic between E.P. Thompson and Anderson, documented in their respective volumes The Poverty of Theory (1978) and Arguments Within English Marxism (1980). Anderson has equally been concerned to investigate, from a historical materialist perspective, both the proximate and remote antecedents of capitalist society. His earlier works, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism (1974a) and Lineages of the Absolutist State (1974b), attempt respectively to trace two neglected historical connections: between the classical world and feudalism, and between feudalism and the absolutist state. Passages explains the emergence of feudalism from the “convergent collapse” of two preceding but mutually distinct modes of production, the slave mode which had characterized the Greek and Roman worlds, and the “primitive–communal” modes of the Germanic invaders of the Roman Empire. The new feudal mode of production was “dominated by the land and a natural economy” and eventually produced a unified civilization which represented a huge advance on the “patchwork communities of the Dark Ages.” Nevertheless, Feudalism’s own structural contradictions, such as that between “its own rigorous tendency to a decomposition of sovereignty and the absolute exigencies of a final authority” contributed to its decline (Anderson, 1974a, pp. 147, 152, 183). In Lineages, Anderson sees the absolutist state as the “legitimate political heir” of feudalism. The book’s compass extends over the development of absolutism in Western and Eastern Europe, contrasting this with the structural development of the Ottoman Empire and Japan. Modifying Marx’s own formulations, Anderson argues that the “unique passage to capitalism” in Europe was enabled by the concatenation of the ancient and feudal modes of production, rather than

Anderson, Perry

must choose. When Milton wrote that some of God’s servants “also serve who only stand and wait”, are we to picture them waiting for God’s commands, or waiting on him, as servants? In ordinary usage and in pre-twentieth-century literary criticism, ambiguity is usually seen as a flaw, but in modern criticism it becomes a term of praise. William Empson argued in Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930), “The machinations of ambiguity are among the very roots of poetry,” and the New Critics subsequently took up this argument and made it a keystone of their theory. Interest in ambiguity has recently been revived in Deconstruction, but now with an emphasis on the undecidable multiplicity of all linguistic meaning rather than as a specific literary device whose contradictions can in principle be resolved by Empsonian analysis. See also Empson, William; New Criticism.


28 being the result of a linear transition from the former through the latter (Anderson, 1974b, pp. 420–2). Perhaps Anderson’s most influential (and controversial) works have been Considerations on Western Marxism (1976) and its “sequel” In the Tracks of Historical Materialism (1983). In the former, Anderson argues that, in contrast with the unity of theory and practice characterizing the generation of Lenin, Trotsky, and Luxemburg, whose theorizing was based “directly on the mass struggles of the proletariat” (Anderson, 1976, pp. 11, 13, 17), Western Marxism was born of the failure of proletarian revolutions in the advanced nations of European capitalism after the 1914–18 war and developed an “increasing scission between socialist theory and workingclass practice” (1976, p. 92). Theory was secluded within the universities, its language achieving unprecedented sophistication yet becoming increasingly specialized, pessimistic and entering into “contradictory symbiosis” with non-Marxist and idealist systems of thought (1976, pp. 93–4). In contrast with this Western tradition, Anderson traces a tradition of Marxism descending from Trotsky which, far from being academic, concentrated on politics and economics rather than philosophy, was internationalist, and spoke a language of “clarity and urgency” (1976, p. 100). But above all, it was not limited by Western Marxism’s view of official Communism as the only incarnation of the revolutionary proletariat (1976, p. 96). Anderson sees this alternative tradition as central to any renaissance of internationalist revolutionary Marxism (1976, p. 100). In fact he predicts that, with the advent of a new phase in the workers’ movement, signaled by the French revolt of 1968 and the successes of working-class insurgency in Britain, Italy, and Japan in the early 1970s, Western Marxism will fall into extinction once the divorce of theory and practice which called it into being is itself abolished (1976, pp. 95, 101). In Tracks, Anderson sees his prediction of the death of Western Marxism confirmed, its traditional site, Latin Europe, undergoing a rapid decline and being displaced by the emergent Marxist theory in England and America. However, he admits that his prediction of the reuniting of theory and practice has remained unfulfilled. Arguing that Western (Latin) Marxism has effectively been eclipsed by

Structuralism and Poststructuralism, Anderson launches his own attack on the indiscriminate, ahistorical, and socially reductive linguistic model which constitutes the explanatory infrastructure offered by these. Anderson finally poses the question of the relationship between Marxism, socialism, and the process of human emancipation in general, which includes the struggle of feminism and the nuclear disarmament lobby. While Anderson implies the possibility of a dialog between these various struggles, he insists that such general emancipation cannot realize itself without socialism at its center. Anderson’s later collections of essays, English Questions (1992a) and A Zone of Engagement (1992b), continue his inquiry into the future of socialism in an environment bloodied by Thatcherism. He suggests that the “central case” against capitalism lies in its breeding a combination of ecological crisis and social polarization. The task before socialism is to realize itself in an adequate historical agent. It must overcome its own debilitating attachment to particular loyalties, working instead towards international Class solidarity motivated by universal ideals of freedom and equality. Affiliation with the nation-state must give way before the broader goal of a European federation.

Reading Eagleton, T. 1986a: “Marxism, structuralism and post/structuralism.” Martin, J. 1984: Marxism and Totality. Thompson, E.P. 1978: The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays.

m.a.r. habib

androgyny Derived from the Greek anBr, andros (male) and gynB (female), “androgyny” literally refers to hermaphroditism, or the presence of both male and female reproductive organs in a single organism. Historically, the term has been most often used by biologists, especially botanists discussing certain plants. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, the concept of androgyny became popular among feminist theorists to describe the combination and expression of both masculine and feminine appearances, traits, qualities, characteristics, and virtues by human individuals.

29 prevail over “gyn.” Radicals urged women not to flee from femaleness and femininity, but to emphasize and celebrate their difference from men. Black feminists also exerted cultural pressure to explore difference, urging greater attention to the racial and cultural specificity of notions of gender. Feminists influenced by Deconstruction also emphasized difference, the “difference within” analytical categories. They claimed that, because androgyny preserves the categories of male and female, it can never be an alternative to the sex–gender system, that “androgyny” is implicated in the very dualism it seeks to undermine. “Androgyny,” then, represents the road not taken in feminist theory and praxis, but certain interests of contemporary cultural critics – in hybridity and the transgression of boundaries – and a popular cultural movement to “gentle” or feminize men, suggest its lingering if subterranean appeal in the late 1980s and 1990s. See also Deconstruction; Gender.

Reading Heilbrun, Carolyn 1973: Toward a Recognition of Androgyny. Messer-Davidow, Ellen 1987: “The philosophical bases of feminist literary criticism.”

glynis carr

Annales historians The journal Annales d’histoire sociale et économique was founded in 1929 by Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch, who at that time were professors of history at the University of Strasbourg. The purpose of the journal was to revitalize the study of history, which at the Sorbonne had become trivialized to the point of extinction. The founders of the journal were determined to turn their discipline from a narrow conception of political and diplomatic history to a dynamic structural study of social and economic history. Febvre and Bloch moved to Paris during the 1930s, Febvre to the Collège de France and Bloch to the Sorbonne. During the 1939–45 war Febvre worked for the Resistance; Bloch was shot by the Germans. Even during the occupation of France, Febvre continued work on the journal. After the war it was given a new and even more specific title: Annales: Economies, sociétés, civilisations. Fernand Braudel followed Febvre as editorial director in 1957. J.H. Hexter

Annales historians

The feminist argument for androgyny proceeded from the axiom that sex and Gender are not identical. Sexist thinking, which is generally both dualistic and dichotomous in its approach to human nature, tends to conflate the two. Sexist cultural systems first establish two categories, “male” and “female,” then ascribe the traits by which people are sorted into these categories, evaluate the categories and their traits (devaluing the female and traits associated with females), and finally, order the categories through a variety of cultural moves (such as situation, standardization, and distribution of perspectivity), ultimately to enforce relations of dominance and subordination between human beings classified as male and female (Messer-Davidow, 1987, pp. 81–3). Since sexism is only possible when human beings are able to distinguish between males and females of the species, human beings in sexist societies are prohibited from appearing to belong to the other sex, to neither sex, or to both sexes. Since the psychological and cultural reproduction of sexism is only possible when males and females are prohibited from performing the work or expressing the qualities associated with the other sex, appropriate gender behavior is rigorously enforced. Feminists claimed that the practice of androgyny would promote human freedom by asserting the right of individuals to develop according to their own innate logic, not one imposed by sexist culture; it would expose the social constructedness of gender and thus expose sites for the reconstruction of a genderless society; and finally, androgyny would attack sexism directly and effectively by undermining its foundation, the differentiation of human beings into male and female sex-classes. Before the 1960s and 1970s, feminists explored androgyny only occasionally, such as when Elizabeth Cady Stanton asserted that the deity was androgynous in The Woman’s Bible (1895) and Virginia Woolf prescribed in A Room of One’s Own (1928) that writers be either “man-womanly” or “woman-manly.” The fullest articulation of androgyny as a feminist popular cultural ideal is Carolyn Heilbrun’s Toward a Recognition of Androgyny (1973). Interest in androgyny diminished by the 1980s, which might be called the “decade of difference.” Radical feminists claimed that, in a male-dominated society, androgyny could never be realized, that “andro” would always

anthropology, cultural

30 (1979, pp. 61–145) has written an exceptionally informative, though obnoxiously sarcastic, assessment of Braudel and the Annales historians. michael payne

anthropology, anthropology

cultural See

Reading Bloom, Harold 1973: The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. Bloom, Harold 1975b: A Map of Misreading. de Bolla, Peter 1988: Harold Bloom: Towards Historical Rhetorics.

michael payne


anxiety of influence A term in literary theory, used especially by Harold Bloom to refer to a consequence of the impact of responsive reading on “strong” poets or readers. When a strong poet or reader, such as William Blake, registers the full impact of a precursor’s work, Milton’s Paradise Lost for example, the initial response is to feel genuinely overwhelmed by the earlier poet’s achievement and momentarily to believe that nothing more is possible in the mode of such achievement, such as English epic Poetry. This state of anxiety of influence may make the later poet experience a condition of imaginative claustrophobia, or a sense of the exhaustion of imaginative opportunity by what has been previously written. Rather than being defeated by such a sense, a strong poet sets about the task of interpretatively reducing the predecessor’s work by an act of willful misprision, thus claiming, as Blake did, that Milton was in chains when he wrote of God but free when he wrote of Satan, because he was a true poet and unconsciously of the Devil’s party. Such productive Misreading opens up the possibility of new creative activity in the reclaimed imaginative space. Although Bloom develops his theory on the basis of meticulous commentary on the practices of English Romantic poets – initially Shelley and Blake – it roughly parallels Derrida’s independent theory of Deconstruction. Although in its early formulation (Bloom, 1973), the anxiety of influence was a theory of post-Miltonic literary history that did not extend back to Shakespeare, it soon became a model for all literary history, at least since biblical times (Bloom, 1975a). As such, Bloom’s anxiety of influence may be read as a productive response to Kabbalistic readings of the Bible, Nietzsche’s theories of reading in Ecce Homo, and Freud’s theory of the agon characteristic of the Oedipal phase of human development.

aporia A term from ancient philosophy denoting a problem which is difficult to solve owing to some Contradiction either in the object itself or in the concept of it. Aristotle defined it as “equality between contrary deductions.” It has enjoyed a revival in post-Hegelian thought because it registers the objectivity of contradiction without the implication of a prospective dialectical “overcoming”. peter osborne

archaeology of knowledge A form of analysis associated with the work of Michel Foucault and concerned with transformations in the field of knowledge. An alternative history of thought which places emphasis on analysis of the rules of formation through which groups of statements achieve a unity as a science, a theory, or a Text. The focus of analysis is on Discursive practices and relations. See also Archive; Discursive practices.

Reading Foucault, M. 1974: The Archaeology of Knowledge. —— 1989a: “The archaeology of knowledge.” —— 1989b: “The order of things.” Smart, B. 1985: Michel Foucault.

barry smart

archetype A term central to Jungian psychology, which derives from the Greek arche, meaning “primal,” and typos, meaning “imprint, stamp, pattern.” The tendency to apprehend and experience life in a fashion conditioned by the past history of (wo)mankind Jung terms archetypal, and archetypes are the “a priori, inborn forms of ‘intuition’ ” (Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 133). Nevertheless, archetypes are unconscious and exist only in potentia; they must be beckoned forth by circumstance, and different ones operate in different lives. Perhaps the phrase “a priori

31 Reading Jacobi, Jolande 1959: Complex/Archetype/Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jung. Jung, C.G. 1969: Four Archetypes: Mother/Rebirth/ Spirit/Trickster. —— ed. 1964: Man and His Symbols.

susan l. fischer

archive A term associated with Michel Foucault’s archaeological analysis of forms of thought. The archive is “the general system of the formation and transformation of statements” (1974, p. 130) which exists during a given period within a particular society. It refers to the rules of Discursive practice through which past statements achieved both their enunciability as events and functioning as things. For Foucault the archive comprises “Discourses that have just ceased to be ours,” and its analysis serves to establish “that we are difference, that our reason is the difference of discourses, our history the difference of times, our selves the difference of masks” (ibid., p. 131). See also Archaeology of knowledge; Discursive practices.

Reading Dreyfus, H.L. and Rabinow, P. 1982: Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. Foucault, M. 1974: The Archaeology of Knowledge. —— 1978: “Politics and the study of discourse.” —— 1989a: “The archaeology of knowledge.” Smart, B. 1985: Michel Foucault.

barry smart

Arendt, Hannah (1906–75) Political thinker. Arendt is notable, not least, for her radical critique of the whole tradition of political philosophy on the grounds that philosophy, as a contemplative discipline, intrinsically tends to inhibit any genuine feel for politics. Although by nature a contemplative thinker herself, her life experience taught her to mistrust pure contemplation. Even so, she was equally averse to political orthodoxies. Thus, having originated from a thoroughly assimilated German Jewish background, she nevertheless chose to celebrate – as the purest antithesis to the socially ambitious “parvenu” – the vocation of the politically conscious “pariah.”

Arendt, Hannah

categories of possible functioning” best captures the Jungian essence of the term (Collected Works, Vol. 16, p. 34). The archetypes are experienced as emotions as well as images (often in dreams), and their effect is especially salient in typical and significant milestones such as birth and death, triumph over natural obstacles, transitional stages of life like adolescence, extreme danger, or aweinspiring experiences. As a result of his study of dreams, mythologies, legends, religions, and alchemy, Jung came to classify two broad categories of archetypes. First, there are the personifying archetypes, which take on a human-like identity when they function in the psyche. For example, the anima in man and its counterpart in woman, the animus, are convenient designations for any number of interpersonal situations between the sexes. Thus, the anima represents all of man’s ancestral experiences with woman and the animus all of woman’s ancestral experiences with man. Secondly, there are the transforming archetypes, which are not necessarily personalities, but include typical situations, geometric figures, places, and other means that emerge when the personality is moving toward change, and particularly that balancing sort of transformation which will result in the experience of “wholeness” or “totality,” the archetype of the self. The main archetypes of transformation discussed by Jung are the mandala, a Sanskrit word meaning magic circle, whose symbolism includes all concentrically arranged figures, all radial or spherical arrangements, and all circles or squares with a central point (for example, the wheel, eyes, flowers, the sun, a star, snakes holding their tails); and the quaternity, which has to do with geometrical figures being divisible by four, having four sides, or four directions. Mandala and quaternity Symbols are often brought together, for instance, in the flower symbol (petals focusing our attention on the pistil), the wheel symbol (spokes focusing attention on the hub), but the most frequent symbol for the mandala is the cross (focusing attention on the union of the four-sided structure). Jung states: “It is no use at all to learn a list of archetypes by heart. Archetypes are complexes of experience that come upon us like fate, and their effects are felt in our most personal life” (Collected Works, Vol. 9. i, p. 30). See also Collective unconscious; Jung, Carl Gustav.

Arnold, Matthew

32 Her only direct participation in organized politics came during the period 1933–42, when she was active in the Zionist movement. This led her into exile, first in Paris, and then from 1941 in New York (where, ten years later, she became an American citizen). She had been a student of Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers, and in 1929 had published her doctoral dissertation, “Der Liebesbegriff bei Augustin.” The first of her major works, however, is her monumental study of The Origins of Totalitarianism, which appeared in 1951. Thereafter all her writings, although they take various forms, may be seen as following a consistent trajectory. The Origins of Totalitarianism has been criticized for its lopsidedness: by “totalitarianism” she means what Nazism had in common with Stalinism, but most of the book is concerned with the prehistory specifically of Nazism. Her original intention therefore was to supplement it with a critique of Marx, and Marxist tradition. What this eventually turned into, however, was The Human Condition – a systematic phenomenological study of the vita activa. Here, her critique of Marx is placed within the broader context of a general polemic against the prevailing modern subordination of politics to an ethos deriving from the experience of “labor,” and is supplemented by a parallel attack on the reduction of politics to a mode of “work.” By “labor” she means what we do to meet the most basic demands of living, and the corresponding ethos is one designed to maximize production and consumption. “Work” is what we do to construct a stable world in which to live. Philosophers naturally tend to idealize political stability as an optimum environment for their way of life. But true political wisdom, she suggests, lies rather in a proper appreciation of “action”: public performance, as such. Inasmuch as totalitarianism seeks to minimize the space for this, the lesson of the nightmare is that we should learn to love that space – for its own sake. In The Human Condition she celebrates what Plato devalues, the public Culture of ancient Athens, as one embodiment of such wisdom; whilst in the works that follow, Between Past and Future, On Revolution, and Crises of the Republic, she traces its reappearance also in the initial ferment of modern revolutions, before they were hijacked by political parties, and in the student movement of the 1960s.

Arendt is not only an analyst of the vita activa, though. In her final, unfinished work, The Life of the Mind, she turns to the vita contemplativa. This stems from what she had observed in 1961 at the trial of the Nazi, Adolf Eichmann, for genocide. Her initial report, Eichmann in Jerusalem, caused a furore, because of her (incidental) criticisms of the Jewish community leadership, although its major theme is captured in the subtitle: “A report on the banality of evil.” Above all, she insists, Eichmann’s crimes derived from his radical incapacity to think, will, or judge for himself – and she therefore sets out systematically to consider the ethical dimensions of these three activities. (Sadly, she managed to complete only the first two volumes, Thinking and Willing.) See also Phenomenology.

Reading Canovan, Margaret 1992: Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought. Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth 1982: Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World.

andrew shanks Arnold, Matthew (1822–88) British poet, educationalist, literary and cultural critic. The founder of the modern Liberal humanist tradition in British and American literary studies. In Culture and Anarchy (1869) and other works he campaigned in gracefully ironic fashion against insular utilitarian philistinism, under the slogans of “Culture” (that is, balanced self-perfection) and “criticism” (that is, disinterested pursuit of the best ideas), also predicting that dogmatic religion would be replaced with poetry as the bonding agent of modern society. His suspicion of democracy and individualism, and his extension of Literary criticism into general cultural and social criticism later influenced Eliot, Richards, Leavis, and Trilling. See also Humanism; Moral criticism.

Reading Carroll, Joseph 1982: The Cultural Theory of Matthew Arnold. Collini, Stefan 1988: Arnold.

chris baldick art What is art? The working definition of art to be discussed here is that art is the subject of

33 more than 300 works that represent a vast range in materials and techniques, form and content, function and aim. Another reason for saying there is no such thing as Art is to point out to the reader that most of the works presented were made in response to specific purposes and particular occasions, and were not meant to be taken from this context and exhibited in a museum (or reproduced in a book) as Art. Gombrich’s discussion restores to the works the context from which they emerged, describing, for example, the belief in magically insuring success in hunting that prompted the cave painting, and the sight of Italian peasants on farm horses fleeting the shelling of their villages during the 1939–45 war that brought about Marini’s sculpture. However, perhaps the main reason for Gombrich to say that there is no such thing as Art is to prevent his readers from bringing with them predetermined expectations about how works should look. Gombrich’s book encourages readers to be open to the various languages to be found in works from the past – from the classical beauty of Melozzo Da Forli’s angels to the primitive strength of a Tuscan Master’s crucified Christ. There are two expectations that readers might cling to about the appearance of works that Gombrich singles out for special attention. To the first of these – that works appear real – Gombrich suggests that the summary treatment in Rembrandt’s charcoal drawing of an elephant is as convincing a statement as the detailed treatment in Dürer’s watercolor of a hare. To the second – that works be like those with which the viewer is already familiar and comfortable – Gombrich points out that the honesty of Caravaggio’s first and rejected version of The Inspiration of St Matthew may be preferable to the conventionality of his second and accepted version. By saying at the outset that there is no such thing as Art, Gombrich gives the readers the opportunity to view with unprejudiced eyes the different responses that works show to different ideas and beliefs. But Gombrich also provides guidance for the readers as to the limits of the differences. For while Gombrich says there is no such thing as Art, he says that there are artists – individuals who give special care to thinking about and working on their responses in the work that they do. On a modest level, Gombrich says, we are able to recognize the artist because all of us from time to time have been


art historical writings, and specifically art is the subject of (i) Ernst Gombrich’s The Story of Art, 1950 (1995) and (ii) Mieke Bal’s Reading “Rembrandt”: Beyond the Word–Image Opposition (1991). Gombrich’s The Story of Art and Bal’s Reading “Rembrandt” are used here because they occupy such distinct places along one spectrum of art historical Writings. Gombrich’s is certainly the most widely read and possibly the most generally acclaimed book associated with traditional art history, and Bal’s is one of the most sharply focused and carefully reasoned books employing and developing ideas on what has been termed new art history. The books are also distinctive because they are directed at different levels of readership. Gombrich’s is an introductory Text intended for the reader new to the study of art, while Bal’s requires a reader/viewer who has experience in the study of art. But here Bal’s book will be viewed as another introduction – or more precisely, as another idea of what art is. Gombrich’s The Story of Art and Bal’s Reading “Rembrandt” are widely divergent in their views of art, but taken together (though the discussion of their writings here does not approach, much less combine, the clarity of Gombrich’s thought and the subtlety of Bal’s ideas, which is to be discovered in these books themselves) they offer a broad basis for a discussion of what art is. Ernst Gombrich begins his survey of the history of art, The Story of Art, by saying that there is no such thing as Art. (It may be helpful to point out now that the word “art” is used in three ways by Gombrich. When Art is spelled with a capital “A,” he is referring to a universal aesthetic component in works, which for him is usually discussed with a combination of pomposity and vagueness. When Art is spelled with a lower-case “a,” he means either routine image making – that is, works which would be of interest as artifacts, such as popular art and children’s art – or he means what can be characterized as fine art – that is, those works which are the proper subject of art history.) One reason for saying that there is no such thing as Art is to prepare the young readers for whom the book is intended for the great variety of works that are to be encountered in a survey from prehistoric times to the present. From the painting of a bison in a cave in Altamira to the bronze sculpture of a horseman by Marino Marini, Gombrich’s book describes


34 concerned with making something look just right, even if it was only the simple task of arranging flowers in a vase. The difference between this modest artist in us all and the artists discussed in art history is that those artists devote most of their time to such work and thought, and the best of them are willing to make great sacrifices for what they think and do. There is a sameness in the different works discussed by Gombrich as fine art, which is that they express deeply held values in a way that, no matter how much effort has gone into their creation, conveys a sense of effortless harmony. Three specific sign posts are set up by Gombrich to further define the limits of the works that will be encountered by the readers – one “go” sign and two “stop” signs. First, the wellknown masterpieces (such as works by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt) will be discussed because they exemplify supreme efforts in the expression of human values and in the appearance of visual harmony; second, works that follow fashion and popular taste (such as Pop art) are not to be included because they reflect passing rather than permanent values; and third, works that mock sincere works (such as dada art) are excluded because they do not deserve to be either seriously discussed or (like pop art) to be included alongside the work of masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. The statement that there is no such thing as Art coupled with the statement that there are artists make explicit in Gombrich’s book what is implicit in all introductory histories of art – that is, that art is defined in its historical context, and by providing an idea of this context the historian can offer an understanding of what art is. As the title – story rather than history of art – conveys, Gombrich’s book is not to be understood simply as a chronological record, but also as a planned narrative in which the works discussed are selected as one might choose characters for the telling of a tale. This is not to say that other histories of art are less a story than Gombrich’s, but only that Gombrich’s history does not pretend a pure objectivity about what art is. The principal characters of Gombrich’s narrative are master works by master artists, which serve as the primary guidelines in marking out the territory of art over the course of its history. And the primary plot in his narrative is to provide an idea of the artist’s intentions and the social and cultural

conditions of the periods in which these artists lived. An example (if one is needed) is the work of Rembrandt, “one of the greatest painters who ever lived” and “the greatest painter of Holland” where, in the seventeenth century, Protestantism was victorious and where there was a stiff and bracing competition among artists for the attention of the middle-class picture-buying public. Specifically, a late self-portrait by Rembrandt is discussed as an example of what belongs in the history of art. It is art not because this work corresponds to some prevailing idea of Beauty, but because in it Rembrandt portrays himself with total honesty, adding a new dimension of psychic reality to the physical reality that has been achieved in the portraiture of earlier masters, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The idea of what art is, into which the reader is initiated by Gombrich’s The Story of Art, is viewed as being a severely limited one in the recent writing of a number of art historians and those from other areas of study who write about art. In this writing, which includes Mieke Bal’s Reading “Rembrandt”: Beyond the Word–Image Opposition, the kind of art history found in Gombrich’s narrative is viewed as elitist, sexist, racist, Eurocentric, and one that focuses too exclusively on works selected with a theory of progressive development of representation in mind. The basic objection to Gombrich’s narrative that lies behind these views is to the subjectivity of its method, which informs the works discussed by the point of view of the historian. But the objection is aimed less at the methodology of traditional art history than at the definition that methodology forces on art. Of the three specific guidelines cited by Gombrich to set the limits on what works are to be included and excluded in Reading “Rembrandt,” the first two of these (the use of masterpieces as primary landmarks in the history of art, and the exclusion of popular art from the history of fine art) are directly contradicted; the third (the refusal to treat art that is anti-art as fine art) is indirectly, but perhaps more fundamentally, called into question. Beginning with the third, Gombrich sees the work of Marcel Duchamp, such as the ready-made urinal entitled Fountain, and the “serious” writing about it as redefining art, as “trivialities.” A work such as Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. is also an insult to traditional art history. The title, mustache, and goatee are a

35 issue), but rather in bringing Popular culture to bear on “Rembrandt.” Analogous to Duchamp’s commentary on Leonardo da Vinci by using a reproduction of Mona Lisa in his L.H.O.O.Q. (which itself in turn is re-reproduced for further consumption), Bal deflates the concept of master artist and at the same time causes to collapse the hierarchy separating high and popular art. Bal’s reading of Rembrandt’s self-portraits may serve as a specific example of what view of art is taken in recent Cultural studies. Bal chooses an early, small self-portrait of the artist in his studio by “Rembrandt” as the focus of her discussion, rather than what might be considered a “major,” “mature,” or “characteristic” work by the artist. Her analysis reacts against the realism of the self-portrait to concentrate on its constructedness, so rather than viewing it in its sequential relationship to Renaissance portraiture, as Gombrich does, Bal examines it in tandem with Velázquez’s Maids of Honor. Unlike Gombrich, who approaches the self-portrait by Rembrandt as a whole experience to suggest its basic and summary impact, for Bal it is frequently the small detail in a work (such as the palette hanging on the back wall in the “Rembrandt” self-portrait which is positioned like and functions as the mirror on the back wall in Velasquez’s work) that is an index to a specific and often overlooked text in the work. The dialectic between artist as humble craftsman and artist as proud creator that can be seen in both “Rembrandt”’s and Velasquez’s paintings of themselves in working situations reflects on the viewer of these paintings because of the presence of an implied or actual mirror. The question, “Where is the viewer positioned?,” raised in the Velasquez painting by the mirror and the narrativity found in the other figures present has been the subject of much art historical/critical writing. With an intertextual reading of the early “Rembrandt” self-portrait (in which, even though the figure of the artist is still and alone, a narrativity may be discovered by the viewer’s own work) and Velasquez’s Maids of Honor, Bal is able to discern and describe different kinds of self-reflectedness in the writing about the Velasquez painting, unintended but no less real self-portraits of art historians and critics at work. In their discussions of Rembrandt’s and “Rembrandt”’s self-portraits, Gombrich aims at making the viewer aware of what Rembrandt has achieved, while Bal’s aim is


commentary (surely an adolescent one for Gombrich) on Leonardo da Vinci’s work along the lines of Walter Pater’s well-known description of Mona Lisa as “older than the rocks among which she sits” (the facial hair applied by Duchamp does age Mona Lisa somewhat), which Gombrich finds “blatantly subjective.” However, Gombrich’s own comment on Mona Lisa that she “looks alive” and “seems to change before our eyes” is different only in degree (though the degree for Gombrich is critical), not kind, from Pater’s and Duchamp’s. With the use of image (the hair and reproduction) and words (the title) Duchamp’s mustached Mona Lisa is a kind of visual/verbal art history that parodies and caricatures traditional art history while it assaults fine art ideals. Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. also can be taken to be, then, an emblem of the cultural history of Bal’s Reading “Rembrandt”: Beyond the Word–Image Opposition – not for what it is not in this case, but for what it is. First, in the spirit of Duchamp, a basic goal of Bal’s study is to seek out connections between the verbal and the visual, examining the constant interactions between reading and viewing in cultural experience. Also, Bal finds that historical study is shaped and shaded by the background and standards of its writers that are projected on the material of the study. This is particularly true not only if the text of the study is art, which invites subjective reading, but also if the text of the study is the social context in which the art is enmeshed, because this entailed selection and interpretation that is subject to the presence of the writers. Additionally, like Duchamp in L.H.O.O.Q., Bal in Reading “Rembrandt” raises the question of the validity of the master work by master artist approach to the understanding of the experience of art. While Bal chooses Rembrandt as the primary visual text in her study because he is a master artist responsible for what is seen as being “High art,” her view of Rembrandt focuses on how that lofty positioning contributes to the response that his work elicits on issues that are of concern in contemporary Western Culture at large. Her interest lies not in Rembrandt as artistic genius (thus, one reason Rembrandt’s name is put in quotation marks by Bal is because the question of whether one is dealing with works that can be attributed with certainty to his hand or not – a question for the elitist interests of connoisseurship – is not at

art, pop

36 to make the viewer/reader aware of how viewing and reading can interact, has interacted, and does interact with the accomplishments of “Rembrandt”. In her reading of “Rembrandt”, Mieke Bal has followed the advice given by Ernst Gombrich in the Story of Art, looking at pictures with fresh eyes and embarking on a voyage of discovery. Although Gombrich would not agree with everything that she has brought back from her journey, he and Bal start their journeys from the same place, travel side by side through important places along the way, and journey in the same direction. Gombrich and Bal both begin by knowing that, while there are artists, there is no such thing as Art. They agree about the importance of being attentive to the social situations in which artists work, and about the significant role that the subjectivity of historians plays in their discussions of those situations and those works. Further, they agree on the profound transforming effect that verbal discussions, including their own, have on visual images. Just as visitors to art museums easily can find themselves being drawn toward the labels beside the pictures and away from the pictures themselves, so too the discussion of pictures in art history and cultural history, like grossly extended labels, can obscure the pictures it is meant to bring closer to the viewer. Finally, Gombrich and Bal both understand the powerful effect that the work of art can have on its viewers, and both, in writing down their observations, thoughts, and beliefs from their own journeys in search of the sources of this power, have guided others in the continual discovery of what art is.

Reading Bal, Mieke 1991: Reading “Rembrandt”: Beyond the Word–Image Opposition. Gombrich, Ernst 1950 (1989): The Story of Art.

gerald eager

art, pop See Pop art

art worlds Term developed by the sociologist, Howard S. Becker. For Becker, art entails the “joint activity” of a number of people, and an art work always shows “Signs of that coopera-

tion” (1974). Art worlds, then, “consist of all the people whose activities are necessary to the production of the characteristic works which that world, and perhaps others as well, define as art” (1982, p. 34) Art worlds do not only produce works of art but also give them their aesthetic value.

Reading Becker, Howard S. 1974: “Art as collective action.” —— 1982: Art Worlds.

simon frith

arts movement, black movement

See Black arts

Auerbach, Erich (1892–1957) Philologist. Author of the landmark critical work Mimesis, Auerbach wrote extensively on Italian, French, and medieval Latin literature, the literary influences of Christian symbolism, and methods of historical criticism. The product of an eclectic academic background in Germany, where he studied art history, law, and philology, Auerbach, as a leading philologist of Romance languages and literatures, established a metaphysical/historical interpretative perspective which constituted a new epistemological approach to historical Literary criticism. Discharged as professor of Romance philology at Marburg University by the Nazi regime in 1935, Auerbach spent the next 12 years in Istanbul, where his work became both driven and informed by a desire to define and, if possible, preserve Western literary and cultural traditions and values. The recurring framing device characterizing his work was the analysis of literary language and themes as a method of historical interpretation. The subject of Auerbach’s most important work, Mimesis (subtitled The Representation of Reality in Western Literature), was not so much realism in general as much as the manner in which realistic subjects were treated seriously, problematically, or tragically throughout the history of the development of European literature. In this respect – especially in light of Auerbach’s methodology of isolating what he referred to as “levels of style” derived from textual interpretations unfettered by historical critical convention


Reading Auerbach, Erich 1959: Scenes from the Drama of European Literature. —— 1961: Introduction to Romance Languages and Literature. —— 1968: Mimesis. Green, Geoffrey 1982: Literary Criticism and the Structures of History: Erich Auerbach and Leo Spitzer.

james p. rice aura A key term in Walter Benjamin’s account of the historical development of the work of Art. The aura registers the irreducible specificity or uniqueness of the traditional art object. It derives from the origin of art in ritual. In Modernity, Art is characterized by the destruction and decay of the aura from technical reproduction. peter osborne

Austin, John Langshaw (1911–60) Philosopher born in Lancaster, England, educated at Oxford University and a fellow of All Souls College (1933–5) and Magdalen College (1935– 52). He was elected to the White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy Chair at Oxford in 1952 and held the position until his death. He wrote little and published less (seven articles during his life), yet his name was for decades synonymous with a philosophical approach that emphasized careful attention to ordinary language use, sometimes simply called Oxford philosophy. Austin took pride in being a teacher and a university professor. He believed, however, that philosophy should be more than traditional academic lecturing and writing. Philosophy was for him something in which to engage, in which to participate actively. It should be a joint undertaking, not a solitary one; it is best done in groups as a cooperative enterprise. Philosophical inquiry, Austin believed, should include careful discussions with others about clearly set topics and have definitive goals. Even though he stressed the cooperative and shared nature of philosophy, Austin had the reputation of being a terrifying person and made many an enemy at Oxford. His work was often

dismissed as limited and unphilosophical. His use of philosophy was considered trivial by Bertrand Russell and nothing but extremely narrow wordplay by A.J. Ayer. Such sentiments are still to be found in discussions of Austin’s philosophy, with it often being dismissed on the grounds that it simply represents overly refined Oxford tastes and an exaggerated preoccupation with language. While there is no denying a specific focus to his mature work, a careful reading of his papers and lectures reveals an amazing breadth of interest. A sizable, though subtly used, number of literary, scientific, legal, and philosophical quotations and references populate his Texts. Even Austin’s early lectures and papers belie criticisms of triviality and narrowness. As a young man he made a very careful study of the philosophy of Leibniz, and closely examined Greek philosophy, especially Aristotle’s ethical works and Plato’s Republic. He also translated Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic (published 1950). As his thought developed, he found himself reinterpreting philosophy in concerns and methods reminiscent of Socrates, and his interest in language was not separable from his interest in the nature of the world and the human character. Austin’s interest in language was pursued with rigor, tenaciousness, and patience with the aim of achieving clarity and improvement of thought. Such qualities are well represented in his most notable (1946) article “Other minds” (Austin, 1979, pp. 76–116). Much of the difficulty in appreciating Austin is due to his general refusal to provide comprehensive theses and conclusions to his work; and although repeated themes can easily be found (philosopher’s fixation with a few words, the danger of oversimplified conclusions, lack of careful and correct descriptions, repeated phrases and halfstudied facts, obsessive repetition of the same small range of tired examples), there is no grounding of his observations and assertions in a set of simple and unifying principles. Nevertheless, such a supposed lack is an important ingredient of his way of working. Each inquiry in which he engaged has an independence from others, and no one study or set of data or result is to serve as the basis or framework for other inquiries. We are to investigate our ordinary uses of language without the dogmatic restrictions of general principles and theories developed from other

Austin, John Langshaw

– his work presaged much of the poststructuralist critique of European literature and Culture which followed him.

Austin, John Langshaw

38 studies. If there is a single truth Austin thinks he finds in his many inquiries, it is that our ordinary words are much subtler in their use, and there are many more possible uses and distinctions of language than philosophers have realized. There is a complexity, specificity, and nontheoretical, many-voiced character to Austin’s work that must not be missed in attempts to categorize and understand it. While some philosophers find the study of ordinary language of little use, Austin felt that such attention can give philosophy a clear task and subject-matter. Its aim and goal might be as grand as finding ourselves and others in our language; or as simple (Austin’s preference) as exposing distinctions, complexities, and subtleties of language we had not known or had not heeded. Whatever one’s judgment about his procedures, Austin was convinced that his approach was productive for it afforded him “what philosophy is so often thought, and made, barren of – the fun of discovery, the pleasures of co-operation, and the satisfaction of reaching agreement” (“A plea for excuses,” 1956, reprinted in Austin, 1979, p. 175). Several of Austin’s students have tried to recreate his method of work so that others, in Austin’s absence, could understand and possibly use it; and so that others might better appreciate his written works, which were derived from these procedures. The most elaborate such discussion is found in J.O. Urmson’s article entitled “J.L. Austin” (Urmson, 1965). That presentation has been enhanced by the written discussions of others and by the recreation of several Austin lectures and sets of teaching notes that have been published posthumously. (The most notable is Sense and Sensibilia, 1962.) Essentially the method of inquiry, which Austin – somewhat hesitatingly – called “linguistic phenomenology,” comprises the following steps: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v)

Choose an area of Discourse. Collect the complete vocabulary of this area. Provide examples of use and misuse of the collected data. Attempt to give general accounts of the various expressions under consideration. Compare the accounts given with what philosophers have said.

(vi) (vii)

Examine traditional philosophical arguments in light of results. Return to number (i).

Austin thought of his method as an empirical inquiry necessitating the efforts of many. It was best employed by using a team of a dozen or so individuals working closely together. It was to provide a nondogmatic method of discovery rather than a theory of explanation. The method would show its worth and justification, like any laboratory technique, by its success in practice. There is some value in such an organized view of Austin’s method of inquiry, for if nothing else it provides insight into how his papers came to be written and why they have the form they do. Nonetheless such a presentation must be accompanied by several warnings (Cavell, 1965). Austin is not doing descriptive linguistics, for he intends to look as much at the world as at language in his procedures; he does not remain satisfied with describing what people say but also wants to know why people speak as they do; he is not revealing social conventions but seeking truths about the human condition; he is not giving priority to the speech of others but is interested in understanding where and why one does use, or hesitates to use, or feels uncomfortable in using particular words and expressions. (“Why do I feel this way?” tends to be a question at the centre of the method.) For all of its stress on empirical discovery and cooperative work, it must be said that advantageous and productive use of Austin’s method requires a self-reflective intelligence and a lively imagination. Some have even said that the method was only of use to someone like Austin who had the scholarly patience and artistic creativity to make it work. Austin’s work uncovered the way language and action are intertwined, and much of his reputation still rests on his discussion of performative utterances (for example, promising, warning, apologizing); on the way that saying something entails doing something; on the way many things are created when we say something. An important question that Austin could not shy away from was “can saying make it so?” (How To Do Things with Words, 1981, pp. 7ff ). This question sounds strange and we clearly are tempted to say no. However, Austin’s work on performative

39 explored ways in which the author’s I might be written as itself a text (the “person” taken apart in writing, removed from all assertion of some expressive unity of “self”). While reiterating some of Barthes’s emphases, Michel Foucault’s “What is an author?” (1969) proposed the study of a historically variable “author-function” characterizing the existence and circulation of certain Discourses within a society. Such a study leads to questions of authorization – who may figure as an author, which texts have authority, how are discourses “owned”? – that the dissolution of authorship into textuality can too easily avoid.


avant-garde This term, taken from French military usage designating the select corps which went out in advance of the main body of troops, is applied to the political and the cultural spheres (particularly the visual arts) to describe those individuals or groups whose ideas and work seem ahead of the times. The concept of an avantgarde functioned as a primary stratagem in the description of modern art, which was seen as a battleground where certain artists thrust toward new territory while conservative forces held fast to tradition. Surveys of modern art start at different times, but those written prior to the 1980s begin in the same place – with the notion of an artistic revolution against the established order led by an avant-garde. For John Canady, Mainstreams of Modern Art (1959), modernism begins with Jacques-Louis David, whose life and art are presented as part of the violent break that the French Revolution makes with the aristocratic tradition of the rococo. The pattern that Canady then describes is revolution followed by counterrevolution of the next avant-garde, with new forward positions continually being established in art throughout the nineteenth and twentieth

Austin, J.L. 1979: Philosophical Papers. Cavell, Stanley 1965: “Austin at criticism.” Urmson, J.O. 1965: “J.L. Austin.”

richard fleming

author, death of A theme in Poststructuralism decisively stated in Roland Barthes’s “The death of the author” (1967). Barthes identified a cultural investment in the author as explanatory source of Texts: the idea of the author-as-God originating meaning, against which he stressed the linguistic reality of the author – created only in language – and the plurality of any text – space of the interaction of a number of Writings. Recognition of this is the condition of a modern literary practice (Barthes cites Mallarmé’s desire to yield the initiative to words). The death of the author brings the liberation of the reader, no longer constrained to the authorial fiction of the single voice in mastery of its text. Subsequently, Barthes envisaged a possible “amicable” return of the author (made up in reading as a novelistic figure, a set of textual “charms”) and

Reading Barthes, Roland 1967 (1977): “The death of the author.” Burke, Sean 1992: The Death and Return of the Author. Foucault, Michel 1969 (1986): “What is an author?”

stephen heath

autonomy, relative See Relative autonomy


utterances suggests that it is not as odd a query as might first appear. Saying something is not an isolated act but requires the appropriate fabric and circumstances of life to be meaningful and have the force it possesses. Hence being able to say something is closely related to the nature of things, and Austin, in this regard, stresses the need to consider the total Speech-act situation. In our examination of ordinary language, we study not simply a word or a sentence, but the breathing of, the issuing of, the very life of an utterance. Like Wittgenstein, Austin’s appeal to ordinary language is made to emphasize that what we say is said meaningfully in a definite context and is said by humans to humans – hence the obsession not with words or sentences, but with the use and life of language. The ordinariness of an expression is less important than the fact that an expression is said (written) by human beings, in a language they share. For Austin, there is nothing wrong with using technical or special terminology, and ordinary language is not to be treated as sacred. Nevertheless, he insisted that we must be clear about the language we use and the ways we use it.


40 centuries, from neoclassicism to abstract expressionism. At the time when the abstract expressionist avant-garde began to be eclipsed by the next avant-garde, Harold Rosenberg sees a new historical pattern developing: the breaking with tradition becoming its own tradition, that is, the tradition of the new (1959). As E.H. Gombrich points out (1971), adopting this pattern of progress to tell the story of modern art, seeing each new generation of artists pushing the frontiers of art into a new territory, results in the perceived difference between antiquated and advanced art obscuring a real distinction between the serious and the frivolous in art. So for Gombrich, the anti-art of Marcel Duchamp and Dada, which exemplifies the frivolous misread as the serious, might have functioned to call attention to the pompousness of the notion of progress in art, if it was not itself mistaken for avant-garde. Clement Greenberg, who felt that avant-garde art was the only protection against the evils of Kitsch (popular art for the masses) saw the seemingly difficult art of Duchamp and Dada as a pseudoavant-garde art (later termed avant-gardes by Greenberg) that threatened authentic avantgarde art (1971). Hilton Kramer believed that the acceptance and popular recognition of abstract expressionism (itself becoming a form of Kitsch) marked the end of the avant-garde pattern in modernism (1973). T.J. Clark, in writing about Gustave Courbet, cautions his readers not to view avant-garde as a monolithic force, but to see it as a secret and unstable action, more akin, one imagines, to a CIA operation than a military maneuver (1973 (1984)). Added to these views, which held that avant-garde patterns had changed, or ended altogether, or were not what they had been thought to be, was the view that the avant-garde had never existed in the first place. The shift in the perception of the avant-garde in modernism – from being a functioning principle of artistic development to being a complete fiction – was brought about by many factors. Among them are included: the shrinking of the time-lag between the creation of the avant-garde work and its acceptance by the art audience; the disbelief in artistic revolution as causing social change; the disgust at the shameless marketing of “new and improved” art; the distaste for the war imagery built into the term “avant-garde”; the

dismay at the picture within the vanguard pattern of modernism that presented important artistic creation as essentially a white male activity; and the discovery in postmodern art of the deconstruction of the avant-garde. A modernism very different from that in Canady’s book is described by Robert Hughes in The Shock of the New (1980 (1991)), because of the changed view of the avant-garde. Hughes does not see modern art as a series of successful revolutions, but as a set of ambitious, sometimes empty, though basically failed dreams. For Hughes the notion of an avant-garde becomes suspect primarily because of the abuse of the concept in the aesthetic ideology of the United States, which was based, he believed, on a shallow educational system, crass commercialism, addiction to change for its own sake, and an obsession with current fashion and fad. Rosalind Krauss argues that the various avant-gardes have in common a belief in the essential originality of their art. However, for Krauss, the strategy of appropriation in postmodern art reveals that repetition and recurrence play a part equally essential to that of originality in artistic creation, though their role is hidden by the discourse of originality (engaged in by galleries and museums, art critics and historians, and artists themselves) on which the existence of the avant-garde depends. Thus the pictures by Sherrie Levine, which are photographs of the photographs of Edward Weston and Eliot Porter (whose photographs are in turn based on models by other artists), disclose the fiction of pure originality and along with it expose the myth of the avant-garde (1981 (1985)). Donald Kuspit contends in The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist (1993) that the appropriations of Levine not only deconstruct the original works that they copy, but also dismember them, stripping originality of its meaning. However, in the process of emasculating the works of Weston and Porter, Kuspit sees Levine’s copies as also acknowledging the potency of the originals, and thus her appropriations reaffirm the avant-garde of the past. For Kuspit, then, postmodernism not only marks the end of the avant-garde, but is also the beginning of a neoavant-garde art, a decadent mannerism that castrates, but at the same time authenticates, the avant-garde.

41 Gombrich, Ernst 1971: The Ideas of Progress and Their Impact on Art. Greenberg, Clement 1971: “Counter avant-garde.” Kramer, Hilton 1973: The Age of the Avant-Garde: An Art Chronicle of 1956–72. Krauss, Rosalind 1981 (1985): “The originality of the avant-garde.”

Kuspit, Donald 1993: The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist. Mann, Paul 1991: The Theory-Death of the AvantGarde. Rosenberg, Harold 1959: The Tradition of the New.

gerald eager



Bachelard, Gaston



Bachelard, Gaston (1884–1962) French scientist, philosopher, and literary theorist. Among the most comprehensive and sophisticated French thinkers of the twentieth century, Bachelard first completed his studies in mathematics and physics and was especially influenced by the scientific thinking of Einstein and Heisenberg and their respective theories of relativity and indeterminacy. Immediately following his scientific studies, Bachelard began to explore philosophy as a necessary complement to the evolution of thought that he recognized occurring in contemporary science. He then commenced teaching at the University of Dijon (1930–40), where he lectured on mathematics and physics and pursued his scientific writings, which are best represented by his book The New Scientific Spirit (1934). Increasingly concerned with the philosophy of science, he was subsequently invited to the Sorbonne as professor of the history and philosophy of science (1940–54). By the time he went to Paris, he had already published 13 books and many articles focusing mainly on issues related to physics. Here began his rigorous investigations into the formation of scientific and humanistic knowledge, which, he argued, took place not simply by the accretion of facts, but rather by combat leading to conquest over conventional epistemological hindrances in perception, opinion, and reductive thinking that tended to become rigid or absolute. More than merely dialectical thinking, Bachelard’s explorations could be termed

“multilectical,” for he refuses to be bound by preconceived ideas that avoid what he calls “unfixing” both traditional subject and object relationships. He seeks a philosophic stance, exemplified in The Philosophy of No (1940) (1968), that is decidedly open and capable of synthesizing the historical revolutions in thought that have distinguished human experience and knowledge. For Bachelard, this argumentative direction is not a leap toward the irrational or the capricious – just the opposite. His refusal to be “fixed” in finite certitudes can be seen as an informed, conscious statement for a higher rationality, what he calls a rationalité appliqué. Besides Bachelard’s numerous articles (approximately 70), a series of 12 books on science, 2 on time and consciousness, and 9 on poetic consciousness were written between 1928 and 1962. In these intellectually ambitious treatises he strives to identify, analyze, and argue for a coordinating opposition between scientific rationalism and poetic imagination, insisting that creativity must flourish in both domains by way of redefining the human project. Particularly by concentrated attention to language and a reinterpretation of Subject–Object relationships, we will be able to affirm the interconnection between science and poetry and the rational and imaginative faculties. Thus, along with Barthes, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre, Bachelard found himself in the center of what was termed the “humanist controversy” in France, and was responsible

43 would have us explore the links between the two, particularly since this interchange is revealed by creativity shaped by the imagining process. For him, images and imagistic patterns are constantly and naturally forming in our consciousness, and his repeated reference to “psychoanalysis” calls attention to the phenomenological interrelationship humans establish with the world, and not to the “psyche” of writer and reader. In essence, Bachelard considers himself to be one who incorporates scientific, philosophic, and literary principles in the service of becoming (not being) a serious reader of images: the “Text,” which includes the physical universe we inhabit in conjunction with consciousness, is the dynamic starting point for revealing and developing the human project of imagining. In such works as The Psychoanalysis of Fire (1938), Earth and Reveries of Will (1948), and The Poetics of Space (1957), Bachelard does not direct us toward a theory of imagining; instead, he performs that act himself or indicates how other writers reveal it in their choice of imagery. Inhabited by a steady flow of images, the meditative mind that is revealed to us in a state of reverie illustrates our profound, complex, and natural affiliation with self and world – imagining is not theoretical, abstract, nor problematic; it is actual, vital, and akin to what we do and are. Said in another way, humans are imagining beings whose deepest identity is created by the world of their inclusive experience. Bachelard, at least, would encourage us to imagine such a remarkable human condition. See also Imaginary, symbolic, real; Science, philosophy of.

Reading Bachelard, Gaston 1934 (1985): The New Scientific Spirit. —— 1957 (1969): The Poetics of Space. —— 1961 (1988): The Flame of a Candle. Clark, John G. 1989: “The place of alchemy in Bachelard’s oneiric criticism.” Grieder, Alfons 1986: “Gaston Bachelard – ‘phénoménologue’ of modern science.” Lafrance, Guy, ed. 1987: Gaston Bachelard. McAllester, Mary 1990: “On science, poetry and the ‘honey of being:’ Bachelard’s Shelley.” —— 1991: Gaston Bachelard: Subversive Humanist. Smith, Roth C. 1985: “Bachelard’s logosphere and Derrida’s logocentrism: is there a differance [sic]?”

john v. murphy

Bachelard, Gaston

for inventing the concept of the “epistemological break,” or, without incongruity, the capacity for discontinuity and indeterminacy in formal thought patterns. Furthermore, he is credited with having inspired literary critics and scholars, especially in the 1960s and after, by fostering and facilitating the theoretical directions for New criticism, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism. According to Roland Barthes and Gilbert Durand, Bachelard not only provided the foundation for a new critical school, but also, and for the first time, forced French thinkers to take imagination seriously, thereby producing significant debate – precisely what he hoped intellectual tension would cultivate. Bachelard’s seeming inconsistency as he moves beyond conventional scientific and literary thinking is based on a failure by critics and theorists to recognize his aptitude for “debasing” his own and others’ thought-in-progress, which he takes seriously as a willingness to allow mental images to assume a primacy in forming and de-forming the thinking process. Basically anti-Cartesian in philosophical outlook, but trained as a mathematician and physicist, he rigorously analyzes the way in which language and external phenomena interact abrasively to create our human reality, embracing both subjectivity and objectivity, becoming and being simultaneously. When the languages of mathematics and science, of Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis, and of poetry, for example, consistently challenge our traditional assumptions, they can be seen as creative formulations to generate original thinking. Thus we constantly come to new thought patterns not through agreement or harmony, but rather by going against the grain of our knowledge, by “unfixing” or deconstructing our paradigmatic perspectives. Because Bachelard’s speculative approach to science, philosophy, and literature disavows categorization, he is looked upon with understandable suspicion by thinkers whose domains range from applied science to abstract literary theory. If imagination is given preeminence in the human ways of knowing, then obviously followers of all traditional epistemology will be forced to reexamine radically any claim concerning the nature of reality or truth. Although we assert the difference between rational and imaginative faculties – exemplified by scientific endeavors being opposed to poetic expression – none the less, Bachelard

Badiou, Alain

44 Badiou, Alain (1937–) French philosopher. L’Être et l’événement (Being and Event) and Logiques des mondes (Logics of Worlds), which followed it eighteen years later, are the two major volumes that frame the principal oeuvre of Alain Badiou. Earlier works such as Théorie du sujet (Theory of the Subject) are no longer integral to Badiou’s system. Even setting aside the creative work, which is extensive, and the three volumes of political essays (Circonstances 1, 2, and 3), there are numerous essays and shorter works – including volumes on Saint Paul and Gilles Deleuze – that constitute the extension and elaboration of this system. Badiou’s numerous polemical statements, in his essays and in the introductions to the longer works, attack such favored targets as liberal ethics and the fashionable consensus around Nietzschean relativism and Heideggerean hermeneutics. Badiou’s essays are attractive and effective, but are not his main mode. Badiou follows Plato in his suspicion of doxa (opinion) in contrast to the eternity of aletheia (truth) and his enterprise is centered on the productions of axioms in the form of fixed formulae, presented in the form of set theory in L’Être et l’événement and topos theory in Logiques des mondes. The relationship between philosophy and poetic language is a cornerstone for Badiou’s activities. L’Être et l’événement locates Heidegger as Badiou’s principal interlocutor. From Heidegger, Badiou adopts the task of constructing a philosophical ontology, while from Lacan he takes the task of retheorizing the subject. Badiou’s displacement of Heidegger takes place around the axis of the opposition between language and mathematics. Heidegger, followed in various ways by more recent thinkers, has constructed an ontology – a discourse of “being-as-being” – that is fundamentally poetic. Heidegger, according to Badiou, remains within metaphysics in his account of being as “call” and “gift,” “presence” and “opening,” and of ontology as the “uttering” of a “way of proximity.” Badiou refers here to the later work of Heidegger, with its emphasis on language, poetry, and poets, including Parmenides, Réné Char, Hölderlin, and Trakl. Against the “seduction of poetic proximity” Badiou offers “the radically subtractive dimension of being,” which cannot be “represented” or even “presented” (L’Être et

l’événement, p. 16; Being and Event, p. 10; all translations in this entry are my own; hereafter referenced as EE/BE). To break the impasse of the “excess of presence” offered by poetic ontology, a mathematical ontology must be put in its place. As Badiou wryly notes, this turn to mathematics is inconvenient for most philosophers, whose habitual discourses are to be supplanted, nor is it supported by mathematicians, who embrace the truth process of mathematical practice and are uninterested in revisiting earlier findings to tease out their ontological implications. “Our aim is to establish the metaontological thesis that mathematics is the historicity of the discourse on being-as-being” (EE, p. 20; BE, p. 13) Philosophy will have a particular, restricted function. It will not substitute itself for mathematics by presenting itself as a science of being, nor will it substitute itself for politics by presenting itself as a science of society. Badiou is a longstanding Maoist in the French post-1968 tradition, and an activist with continuing involvement in groups assisting undocumented workers in France (when Badiou speaks of what is not represented quite often he seems to have in mind absence of political representation within the state). Political militancy and philosophy are kept entirely separate in Badiou’s work. Despite an evident love of political militancy, which is always identified with leftist revolutionary activity, Badiou rejects all attempts at “political philosophy” and his attempt to create a philosophical model of the “event” can be construed as perhaps principally an attempt to model political revolution without recourse to the Marxist model of historicaldialectical prediction. L’Être et l’événement claims that philosophy does not produce truth, but axioms. The role of philosophy is enabled by the existence of four “generic procedures” later called “conditions,” which have a subordinate position in the text of L’Être et l’événement, but are set out more fully in Manifeste pour la philosophie and Conditions. These “truth procedures” or “generic procedures” are named as “science (or more precisely the matheme), art (more precisely the poem), politics (more precisely interior politics, or politics of emancipation) and love (more precisely the procedure which makes truth of the disjunction of sexed positions)” (Conditions, p. 79). Three of these

45 arguing with reference to the power set that there is a distinction between the state of a situation and the situation itself – between what is present in a state and what is represented – and the exposition moves from the seemingly abstract notion of “state” to the (in fact already apparent) example of the historical-social state. Still discussing being, preparatory to discussing the event, Badiou asks whether nature is poem or matheme. Rejecting the poetic ontology of Heidegger, he argues that a situation can be regarded as natural if the multiples it contains, and all multiples they contain, are “normal”: that is, there is the “maximum connection between belonging and inclusion”; “nature is that which is normal, the multiple re-assured by the state” (EE, p. 146; BE, pp. 127–8). Although there can be natural situations, there can be no Nature as such, which would be “the totality of being-natural,” an impossible “multiple composed of all ordinals.” However, it can be asserted that a “natural infinite multiplicity exists” (EE, pp. 159–60, 167; BE, pp. 140, 148). So in the theory of being developed in the first three sections of L’Être et l’événement, being is never present as a single being but always as multiplicities of multiplicities sutured to the void, and while situations can be described as natural there is no single underlying Nature, just an infinity of natural situations. For Badiou, not only what is natural belongs to being, but also all that part of the social that is concerned with repetition and routine. Events are only those occurrences that introduce something new into society, so they do not include natural events even if these have human consequences, and they do not include social events that are not transformative. Badiou’s ontology acknowledges only a certain type of event that is revolutionary and transformative. His principal models are political, mathematical and artistic, to which he adds love as an event that is the business only of the “Two” if not of a wider community. It is important to be clear what counts as an event for Badiou because without this guiding information the abstract mapping of the event makes little intuitive sense. While Badiou clearly indicates what type of occurrence constitutes an event in this ontology, he does not provide us with any empirical tests, though his event appears to be tied to fairly commonsense or

Badiou, Alain

procedures supply the themes of the three 1998 volumes on metapolitics, the inaesthetic, and transitory ontology. L’Être et l’événement does not deal with art or the poetic as such, but Badiou’s potential importance for cultural theory rests on it. Each section of L’Être et l’événement deploys three discursive modes: prose formulation, mathematical formulation (using Cantor, Gödel, and Cohen), and illustrative dialogue with texts from the “great history of philosophy.” These texts include not only philosophers but two poets: Mallarmé and Hölderlin. Mallarmé is the most important poet for Badiou. It is striking that poets are presented as belonging to the history of philosophy. In Manifeste, Badiou develops the case for the existence of an “age of poets,” running from Hölderlin to Celan, in which the poem has been the bearer of “certain of the functions of philosophy” (Manifeste pour la philosophie, p. 49). In L’Être et l’événement Mallarmé’s work is presented in the key section on the event more or less as example of the same philosophical workings. The role allocated to a strictly delimited number of poets – plus Samuel Beckett – alerts us that the treatment of the artistic and literary in Badiou’s work gives the means to deal with a particular range of (basically) modernist works. It also alerts us that Badiou’s apparent identification with Plato – who attacked poets – is a little more complicated than it first appears. Badiou evokes Plato in the rejection of poetic language in philosophy, the affirmation of the Idea, and the attack on modern sophists – declaring that “Wittgenstein is our Gorgias” (Conditions, p. 61). It may be no surprise then that it is Mallarmé, the most Platonist of all poets, who provides the bridge back into a celebration of the literary as a truth process, and – what is not the same thing – of literature as philosophy. The argument of L’Être et l’événement is not in outline of massive complexity. To begin with, Badiou establishes the idea that ontology must recognize not underlying totality, but endless multiplicity. Ontology is the theory of the pure multiple, but since every multiple consists of other multiples and there is no one, ontology must found itself on the void, the multiple of nothing (EE, pp. 70–1; BE, pp. 57–8). Badiou goes on to distinguish between inclusion and belonging,

Badiou, Alain

46 received notions of political, artistic, and scientific history pegged to such occurrences as the French Revolution or the glory days of Cubism. From his description of being, Badiou launches his description of “that which is not being-asbeing”; that is, non-being (EE, p. 193; BE, p. 173). The first step is to define the evental site and the event. The evental site is not represented and, unlike the global natural situation, is local. The difference between an evental site and a natural multiplicity is not intrinsic or absolute: the evental site is historic, but any evental site can succumb to the normalization of the state (the hint here is of Bolshevism/Stalinization) (EE, p. 196; BE, p. 176). The event as such is always localizable within presentation, but is neither presented nor presentable as such – it is supernumerary. The event cannot be thought except by anticipating its abstract form, and it cannot be averred except retroactively by an intervening practice (EE, p. 199; BE, p. 178). In the key discussion of the event, Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés is cited as a metaphor of the notion that an evental site borders the void and presents itself only in what is impresentable. In Mallarmé’s poem, the shipwreck alone gives the allusive debris from which the undecidable multiple of the event is composed in the evental site. Pressing Mallarmé’s poem further, Badiou goes on: “Between the event annulled by the reality of its visible belonging to the situation [if the master throws the dice] and the event annulled by its total invisibility [if the master does not open his hand], the only representable concept of the event is the staging of its undecidability. Mallarmé’s poem is said to be a long metaphoric treatment of the concept of undecidability” (EE, pp. 214–16; BE, pp. 192–4). The event calls for intervention and fidelity. Intervention is the process of recognizing an event. Fidelity is the process of adhering to it. While the state names the stability of a situation, fidelity causes multiples that are contra-statal to be presented in the situation. These multiples, which fidelity organizes and gives legitimacy, are marked by the event, although it would be wrong to consider this grouping of multiples as being the situation itself. Badiou criticizes vulgar Marxism for mixing up the abstract notion of the workers with the actual empirical workers. Fidelity attaches to the event, not to the bearers of fidelity (EE, pp. 263, 368–9; BE, pp. 238, 334).

Badiou deals at some level of complexity with knowledge and its relationship to language, and goes on to present the key idea of the generic, a term that is said to be almost interchangeable with the indiscernible. The generic is to be understood in terms of the opposition between truth and knowledge. It is necessary, says Badiou, to work out the relationship or de-relationship between militant post-evental fidelity, on the one hand, and a fixed state of knowledge (or the encyclopedia of the situation) on the other (EE, p. 361; BE, p. 327). While encyclopedic knowledge is presented within language, the truths that flow from the complex of event/intervention/ operator-of-fidelity and from the inquiries that this complex produces are unnameable in the language of the situation. So truths are subtracted from knowledge and counted by the state only in the anonymity of their being (EE, pp. 373–5; BE, pp. 338–41). Only love, art, science, and politics generate these truths, considered “infinite” because they derive from the event not from the operators, and may be adhered to by anyone. Other practices cannot generate truths, not even philosophy, though philosophy is conditioned by the generic procedures of its time and can “help” the procedure that conditions it. In the concluding element of his ontology, Badiou deploys a notion of the subject that avoids the traditional subject of philosophy and psychoanalysis, although in its radical reduction from the human Badiou’s conception still belongs to the tradition of Lacan and Althusser. “Subject” now is “any local configuration of a generic procedure on which a truth rests.” The subject is not a substance or an empty point; it is certainly not the phenomenological or transcendental subject; it is not invariably found but is rare; it is always qualified by the generic procedure to which it belongs; it is neither an origin nor a result (EE, p. 429; BE, pp. 391–2). Badiou’s abstractions are geared to creating a model of revolutionary change in all its forms – political, artistic, and scientific. Critics of Badiou have worried that his affirmation of the event risks moral hollowness and might as easily describe undesirable as well as desirable change. These are value judgments of course, but Badiou does in effect respond to such criticism in Logiques des mondes, which includes a typology of the subject – the faithful, the reactive, and the obscure – each


The main thing for us is that the paradoxical connection between a subject without identity and a law without basis grounds the possibility, within history, of a universal predication. The unprecedented gesture of Paul is the removal of truth from the influence of community – whether of a people, a city, an empire, a territory, or of a social class. (Saint Paul, p. 6)

This conception of Paul is asserted as antidote to a contemporary cultural relativism in which all truth claims are thought to emanate from the collective cultural position of the subject producing them, and every subject is seen as a victim. Badiou denounces the subdivision of society by contemporary identity politics and, with reference to Deleuze’s concept of “deterritorialisation,” links this phenomenon to the marketing strategy of capitalism. By way of demonstrating an alternative, Badiou goes on to develop an account of the suspension of Paul between Greek and Jewish culture, and his evasion of the mastery inherent in each, whether in the Greek discourse of wisdom or the Jewish discourse of the law. Paul can defy each, asserting a truth that goes beyond law and wisdom and also beyond race. Paul’s assertion is founded not in law or in inquiry but in the event of the resurrection, which as Badiou points out is the

single fact about Christ that Paul asserts. The rest – the teachings, the miracles, and other supernatural material related in the (later) Gospels – has no bearing on Paul’s faith and his ministry. This analysis gives Badiou a way to talk about the event as a singularity, as something that delivers a subject, a reborn subject that is authorized by the event and not by the discourse of law or truth. The real that is the Christ-event brings about a universalism in the subject that bypasses the cultural specificity of Greek and Jew. Producing a fascinating parallel with Nietzsche, who loudly denounces Paul in The Antichrist, Badiou claims that the healthy subject so founded is an affirmative “son-subject” from whom life commences – by sending his son God the father allows everyone to become a son and achieve freedom from the law. That which saves us is faith, not works. We are not under the law, but under grace. Badiou gives Paul’s central claims a new inflection, and draws a series of theorems from his exposition of Paul, concerning the one and the universal, the event, the subject, and the law, the truth process, and the power of truth – summarily, on the fidelity of the subject to the truth-process that constitutes it. Saint Paul, in effect, is a worked example of Badiou’s ontology and gives a sense of how this ontology can set the universality of a strictly delimited notion of truth against subjectcentered ethics, in an age where events invite a reconsideration of both political and religious universality.

Reading Badiou, Alain 2003: Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism. —— 2005: Being and Event. —— 2007: The Century. —— 2009: Logics of Worlds. Hallward, Peter 2003: Badiou: A Subject to Truth.

david ayers

Bakhtin, Mikhail (1895–1975) and colleagues An important group of Russian writers on literature, language and culture. Bakhtin studied at St Petersburg University, reading widely in philosophy and literature at a time of high intellectual and political excitement. Later he taught in Nevel and then Vitebsk, where

Bakhtin, Mikhail (1895–1975) and colleagues

of which is ascribed characteristics according to which of the four generic procedures it belongs to. The result is a typology with a Jungian flavour that is more ingenious than convincing. It may be that Badiou’s model of the poetic, and of the artistic in general, as a truth process, will come to have less influence on cultural theory than his Saint Paul, which discusses the topic of universality, and may prove to have historiographical implications that will run beyond anything Badiou specifically intends. Unlike texts such as Samuel Beckett and the popular Le Siècle, in which the presence of Badiou’s system is subtly woven into an essayistic style, Saint Paul combines accessibility with explicit theoretical systematization. Saint Paul is prefaced by an introduction that criticizes contemporary ethical thought centered on the subject – a key target for Badiou – and outlines an interest in Paul as a subject neither founded by nor founding any law.

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48 he worked with many other artists and intellectuals including V.N. Voloshinov (1894–1936) and P.N. Medvedev (1891–1938). From this circle emerged several Texts which arose from shared debates, touching on important and sensitive issues in the difficult and highly policed early years of the Soviet Union. Voloshinov died of an illness and Medvedev was shot, while Bakhtin, exiled for a period, often ill but extraordinarily hardworking as a teacher and writer, maintained his intellectual activities in the shadows despite a briefly positive reception for his book on Dostoevsky, published in 1929. His dissertation on Rabelais was controversial, and only much later in his life was he recognized and praised in the Soviet Union, even as some of the group’s books began to appear in the West, where they have become highly influential. All these circumstances – the need to tread warily, the flow of ideas which were exchanged and discussed, the disappearance of some texts, the emergence of others in translation, belatedly and in a different climate – have unfortunately created continual confusion about the group’s work, which is still far from resolved. In part this results from the richness and many-sidedness of the arguments, which have been appropriated in different ways, but there is also serious scholarly disagreement about the extent of shared or disguised authorship so that writers have made different assumptions about authorship and even claimed that passages in the texts disguised the intentions of the group. These matters are largely unresolved and may remain so. Here texts are referred to in the names of the several writers but there can be no doubt of a common, at times highly indirect and ironic, play of ideas. The work of the group is situated between that of the contemporary formalists and futurists on the one hand, and that of the official Party line on Culture on the other. It bears the marks of both but explores sophisticated ways forward from each. From the formalists had come an emphasis on the distinctive properties of language and conventional devices in literary work, close attention being paid to linguistic innovation and the formal properties of literary texts with little reference to other forms of language or the social circumstances of Writing. By comparison orthodox Party Marxism, increasingly intolerant and suspicious of deviation, proclaimed Socialist

realism as its approved cultural vehicle and argued that literature and language were reflections of social conditions and relations. If there is a common program at all in the work of Bakhtin’s group (which valued diversity), it concerned the study of ideologies in their “social qualities:” “what is lacking is a properly worked out sociological study of the specific properties of the material, forms and goals belonging to each of the domains of ideological creativity” (Medvedev, 1928); “the forms of signs are conditioned above all by the social organisation of the participants involved and also by the immediate conditions of their interaction” (Voloshinov, 1929); “primitive marketplace genres prepared the setting for the popular-festive forms and images of the language in which Rabelais expressed his own new truth about the world” (Bakhtin, 1965). Some of the group’s studies are highly theoretical, offering critiques of psychology and Psychoanalysis for their misreading of the social being of individual consciousness; Bakhtin’s own work includes detailed though boldly wide-ranging studies of Dostoevsky, Rabelais and his understanding of the novel, also a number of difficult meditations upon forms of writing and much else. Medvedev’s work (probably written with Bakhtin, 1928) paid tribute to the formalists as worthy foes in the development of a more adequate account of literature in which the “concrete life” of a work of art should be seen in its literary milieu, that milieu within a larger ideological milieu, and both within their socioeconomic setting. The program attempted to dissolve the distinction between text and context, between properties intrinsic and others extrinsic to the literary work, by locating works within genres which at once required forms of Literary production and intended audiences which are inside, not outside, a genre’s development. A year later, Voloshinov’s book on language attacked forcefully both a notion of individual consciousness and the Reification of language (as potentially in Saussure and many dominant forms of linguistics) as an objective System. Instead language was neither merely subjective nor wholly objective. Words were an “index of social changes” and (controversially in Soviet Marxism) because “class does not coincide with the sign community . . . different classes will use one and the same language” so that “differently

49 difficult and cryptic strand of his work (1981) presented three models of possible language situations: monoglot, with a shared language and strong cohesion of values; polyglot, in which languages coexist; and heteroglot, where inside a unified common language there are divergent voices and registers. His own boldly wide-ranging form of the novel proclaimed those moments in which contradictory opinions could be voiced simultaneously, while his work on Rabelais and the carnival celebrated the productivity of popular pleasures against officialdom. In fact his writing has much in common with the contemporary music of Shostakovich, with whose situation and thus, in the group’s analysis, utterances Bakhtin had much in common. In both, ambiguous and qualified presentations of official thinking are cut across by a huge, almost uncontrolled variety of other voices, often sardonic and ironic, in a “victory” over linguistic (or musical) “dogmatism.” Current knowledge of the writings of the Bakhtin group, its debates, and degree of shared purpose is tantalizingly incomplete and likely to remain so. It seems that the writings were of necessity “double coded,” though that quality and the celebration of difference has brought Bakhtin into the field of postmodernist thought. It has been possible not only to see in the work a tactical retreat from key Marxist positions, but also to see Voloshinov’s writing on conflict through language and the ideological sign, and Bakhtin’s on the social construction of literary voices, as crucial enrichments in contemporary Marxism against an economist reductionist tradition. Elsewhere, despite the constant ambiguity in the group’s work towards the distinctiveness of literary strategies from other forms of utterance, Bakhtin has been noted for offering a distinctive poetics of texts as polyphonic: Todorov (1984) called him the “greatest theoretician of literature in the twentieth century.” If one user of the group’s work values its analysis of intertextuality, others look outside the play of texts at their broader treatment of language and culture. The notion of dialog between Discourses, however enigmatically and abstractly treated at times, is a fundamental contribution. Another is the treatment of a set of shifting relations between official and popular forms. A third is the approach to the grotesque not as a convention or form but as a registration of the

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oriented accents intersect in every ideological sign” and Sign “becomes an arena of the Class struggle.” The study of language was that of “the particular situation of the utterance and its audience” within “genres of behavioural speech” (“the drawing-room causerie, urban carouses, workers’ lunchtime chats”). Signs possessed a “social multiaccentuality” since they were constantly appropriated for different purposes even if “the inner dialectic quality of the sign comes out fully in the open only in times of social crises or revolutionary changes.” Though this work became known only much later and in quite different intellectual settings, it staked out a distinctive agenda for a materialist study of language forms within a variety of social situations in culture, analyzing “speech performances” and their typical, yet open-ended characteristics as inextricably linked to transactions offering possibilities for exchange, conflict and struggle. In work later known as Bakhtin’s primarily or alone, references by Voloshinov to “the active reception of other speakers’ speech” becomes a much larger study of a principle of social dialog (the internalization of and speaking to other positions) in forms of writing as well as speech. Equally, the “differently oriented social interests” extend to a dense celebration of cultural “heterogeneity.” Utterances imply listeners and in Bakhtin’s most valued writers different voices coexist, irrupting against each other in a ceaseless play. His study of Dostoevsky asserts that the author’s work is distinctively polyphonic, articulating a number of positions and refusing to privilege any of them. In his long and densely referenced study of Rabelais, the typical forms of carnival (shows and pageants, parodies, cursing and swearing) are seen as the creative busting forth of a repressed world of folk culture, its interests in bodies and blasphemy, into the official medieval world: “the bodily lower stratum of grotesque realism still fulfilled its unifying, degrading, uncrowning and simultaneously regenerating functions.” Both books locate literary work (as the Rabelais study puts it) within “the very depths of the life of that time” within which “an active plurality of languages . . . led to exceptional linguistic freedom.” Necessarily, Bakhtin’s own “utterances” were sensitive to the presence of other voices in the increasingly grim circumstances of Soviet life. A

Balibar, Etienne

50 body against the spirituality (and repression) of Aesthetics and thought. A fourth is the interest in Heteroglossia and difference, “processes of decentralisation and disunification” next to “verbal–ideological centralisation and unification” (1981). Bakhtin remarked at the end of his book on Rabelais (1965) that belles lettres and the modern novel were “born on the boundaries of two languages” and it is the group’s exploration of this shifting position, and their own location between formalist aesthetics (to which they paid tribute) and Party Marxism (which they saw as a deformation even as they suffered from it) which has given their work its remarkable suggestiveness, breadth, and new relevance. See also Formalism.

Reading Bakhtin, M. 1929 (1984): Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. —— 1965 (1984): Rabelais and His World. —— 1975 (1981): The Dialogic Imagination. —— 1979 (1986): Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Bennett, T. 1979: Formalism and Marxism. Clark, K. and Holquist, M. 1984: Mikhail Bakhtin. Hirschkop, K. and Shepherd, D., eds 1989: Bakhtin and Cultural Theory. Medvedev, P.N. 1928 (1978): The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics. Todorov, T. 1981b (1984): Mikhail Bakhtin: The Dialogical Principle. Voloshinov, V.N. 1926 (1976): Freudianism: A Marxist Critique. —— 1929 (1973): Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. White, A. and Stallybrass, P. 1986: The Politics and Poetics of Transgression.

michael green Balibar, Etienne (1942–) French Marxist theoretician, former pupil and collaborator of Louis Althusser, and a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Paris (Sorbonne). For 20 years a member of the French Communist Party until his exclusion in 1981, Balibar has since been prominent in anti-racist campaigns in France. From the 1960s to the 1990s these political commitments have profoundly marked his intellectual engagements, which focused on four main, interrelated areas: (i) critical development of a “historical epistemology” – an anti-empiricist French tradition

in the history and philosophy of science, associated with Gaston Bachelard, Jean Cavaillès, and Georges Canguilhem; (ii) interrogation and reconstruction of theoretical Marxism in light of the record of historical Communism – the joint, internationally influential enterprise of “Althusserianism,” undertaken with Pierre Macherey and Michel Pêcheux among others; (iii) interpretation of the political actuality of the thought of Spinoza, classical philosopher-general of Althusserian Marxism; and (iv) reflections and interventions on contemporary nationalism and Racism. In his best-known work (1965), Balibar employed Bachelardian–Althusserian categories to reconstruct historical materialism as the general theory of social formations founded by Marx. Arguing that the concept of “mode of production,” properly understood, effected an “epistemological break” with the prior tradition of the philosophy of history, initiating a “science of history” in its stead, Balibar sought to displace quasi-Hegelian formulations of Marxism. In particular, this meant rejection of the evolutionism of orthodox historical materialism which, basing itself upon Marx’s 1859 Preface (1976), conceived the advent of communism as the preordained result of the autonomous, progressive development of the productive forces. Prioritizing the category of “reproduction” over that of “contradiction,” and affirming the explanatory primacy of the social relations of production, Balibar advanced a theory of historical transition from one mode of production to another, in which the determinant instance was the Class struggle, and not the master contradiction between (advanced) productive forces and (retarded) property relations. Balibar’s insistence on the constitutive complexity of concrete social formations, irreducible to the “laws of motion” of a single mode of production, proved immensely fertile for subsequent Marxist research. However, in response to critiques of the rationalist epistemology informing Reading “Capital,” he abandoned the project of a “general theory” of modes of production (1974, pp. 227–45). Here, as in his defense of Leninism against the tactical adjustments of the PCF (1976), the influence of a certain Maoism, derived from the professed principles (though not the actual practices) of the Cultural Revolution, can be discerned, characteristic of the theoretico-political


Reading Balibar, Etienne 1965 (1990): “The basic concepts of historical materialism.” —— 1974: Cinq études du matérialisme historique. —— 1976 (1977): On the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. —— 1985: Spinoza et la politique. —— 1991a: Ecrits pour Althusser. —— 1993a: Masses, Classes, Ideas. —— 1993b (1995): The Philosophy of Marx. —— and Wallerstein, Immanuel 1988 (1991): Race, Nation, Class.

gregory elliott

Barthes, Roland (1915–80) French critic whose constantly innovative writings were greatly influential in literary and Cultural studies. From 1960 Barthes taught at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, offering a seminar under the heading “Sociology of signs, symbols and representations.” In 1976 he was elected to a chair in “literary semiology” at the Collège de France. Barthes’s work was wide-ranging in the topics it treated and the areas in which it was important. Individual books and articles made decisive contributions to the development of Semiology, the structural analysis of narrative, the study of specific sign systems (that of fashion, for example), the redefinition of Literary criticism, the

reading of particular works or bodies of work (those of Sade, Michelet, Proust, Sollers, and numerous others, including artists and composers), the understanding of the social use and subjective experience of photographs (the list could be extended). It would be difficult to find many aspects of the contemporary Culture that did not somewhere receive consideration in the multitude of his texts and interviews, and this underlines the extent to which Barthes filled and helped define a certain role of the intellectual crucially and critically engaged in the demonstration and questioning of the culture’s given realities as systems of meaning, as implicated in processes of signification which precisely structure and inform their “givenness.” Over all its diversity, throughout its various stages of development, Barthes’s work was characterized by this concern with conditions of meaning: with the ways in which meanings are made, presented, fixed, grounded, and then with the ways in which they can be unmade, challenged, displaced, pluralized. His approach was always in terms of language, the one unfailing object of his attention and investment, his curiosity and desire. The initial writings dealt explicitly with social operations of language, the power of institutionalized forms of meaning. Writing Degree Zero (1953) took literature as such a form and described an inescapable sociality of language to which it is bound. Language exists not as a neutral instrument for the untrammeled expression of a writer’s message, a channel for the passage of an independent content, but as so many orders of Discourse, so many sociolects or “Writings” which inform and shape that message and content. A writing – an écriture – is language loaded with a consistency of representation, bringing with it a ready-made version of “reality” that coercively runs together facts and norms, information and judgment. Such set forms make up – are – the society’s intelligibility, “naturally” its vision of things. Literature is part of this vision: a defined and regulated site of language use that holds a writer’s Text to repetition of its constraining sense of “literature.” Modern writers, from Flaubert onwards, are distinguished by an acute consciousness of this social occupation of language and engaged thereby in a struggle to write free of the forms of a society from which they are divided by that very consciousness (no longer

Barthes, Roland

orientation of many French Marxists in the late 1960s and 1970s. Amid the “crisis of Marxism,” Balibar has refused the familiar options of sheer renunciation or mere reassertion of Marx, offering a nuanced appreciation of his enduring significance (1993b). His recent work, some of it undertaken via a dialog with the historical sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein (1988), has been preoccupied with the burning philosophical and political issues posed by the emergence throughout the advanced capitalist world of a new “integral nationalism” and neoracism, whose legitimating ideology is “cultural difference.” Among the arresting theses of Balibar’s successive interventions is that theoretical racism is a “theoretical humanism.” Summoning his readers to “an effective anti-racism” (Balibar and Wallerstein, 1988, p. 13) as the precondition of a renewed class politics, Balibar evinces his commitment to a cosmopolitan vocation for political philosophy, as exemplified by Baruch Spinoza.

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52 any innocence of language), while at the same time inevitably returned to it in the very act of writing (no stepping outside its sociality). Mythologies (1957) focused on the objects and events of everyday life as replete with meaning, thick with a mythical discourse that seeks to convey as universal the particular values it represents. It is this conversion of cultural sense into essential nature which Barthes refers to as myth and identifies as the defining mode of the bourgeois Ideology of his society, tracking it down in a wrestling match or a poem (Writing Degree Zero was exactly a mythology of literary language), in an advertisement for spaghetti or the staging of a play (in a series of reviews contemporary with Mythologies, Barthes championed Brecht’s practice of displaying meanings, offering them frankly to be read as such, against that of a bourgeois theater that hides them in the naturalistic illusion of a presentation of “life”). Mythologies ended with a theoretical essay which drew on the linguistic notion of the Sign to give an account of mythical Discourse as a System of Connotation: myth takes over an initial Signifying system as the support – the signifier – for new meanings proposed as motivated by the initial system, simply “there.” In what he would later characterize as a euphoric dream of scientificity, Barthes played a major part in the development of semiology, the science of signs envisaged by Saussure, and in Elements of Semiology (1964) provided a synthesis of its terms and concepts. In fact, semiology was always for him a potentially critical discourse that, with its formal analyses of the systematic conditions of meanings in social life, contributed to the demystification of the workings of ideology that had been his first preoccupation. Semiology, that is, helped provide the tools for an effective critique of a “society of communication” dependent on a regime of meaning in which signs are proffered as closed unities of an exchange of sense from one Subject to another. Insisting on an understanding of signification – the production of signs – and on the subject not as some full consciousness originating meaning but as set in place within signifying systems, Barthes was concerned semiologically with the demystification of the sign (“the great affair of Modernity”), but then too with that of semiology itself for its failure to question its own dependence on the

sign as focus and limit of its analyses. Semiology describes signifying systems, but assumes in so doing the idea of the sign as the join of a signifer and a signified in a way that allows the latter to continue to be regarded as a prior content that the former comes to express and so the maintenance of the accepted terms of subject, meaning, and communication. As opposed to which, Barthes was concerned increasingly to stress the productive nature of signifying systems – their realization of subject positions and terms of meaning – and to acknowledge the all-pervasive fact – the everywhereness – of language: there is no object or content or ground of meaning outside of a signifying process giving it as such, and so no Metalanguage, inasmuch as no language can reach some objectivity outside of language and no metalinguistic representation can be more than a particular construction within the infinite movement of language, a productivity that can never be brought to an end – other than in some theological or metaphysical or scientistic imagination of closure (semiology fell too easily into the latter: a scientific discourse conceiving itself as science but refusing to consider itself as Discourse). As regards Literary criticism, such an emphasis on language meant a challenge to beliefs in works as deriving their meaning from a reality they represent or a mind they express (in a famous essay of 1967 Barthes announced the death of the Author) and a perception of the critic as creatively trying them out with different interpretative models. On Racine (1963) gave a structural and thematic reading of the corpus of Racine’s plays through the languages of anthropology and Psychoanalysis, while Criticism and Truth (1966) defended this procedure against traditional literary-historical “author-and-works” attacks, and succinctly stated Barthes’s critical premises: there is no impartial choice of a system of interpretation and objectivity is a choice of language institutionally sanctioned as such; what counts is the rigor with which the language chosen is applied, not the meaning of the work but the meaning of what the critic says of it; there is, indeed, no arriving at “the meaning of the work” (contrary assertions by certain academic approaches are yet another example of mythical discourse, attempts to hide their “objective” meanings as those of “the work itself ”), no final grounds for stopping the plurality into which,

53 The theory of the text finally can only coincide with writing, can sustain no metalinguistic distance. Barthes the semiologist was overtaken by Barthes the writer, his work moving away from any representation of a knowledge, any possibility of codification into an externally applicable theoretical system (no equivalent, for instance, to the Deconstruction derived from Derrida). He talked of himself more and more as an amateur, writing not professionally, under some conception of a discipline, but perversely, under the sway of desire, shifting intellectual analysis to questions of enjoyment. The Pleasure of the Text (1973b) recast the readerly/writerly distinction of S/Z into a reflection on pleasure and Jouissance, exploring in a series of brief notations the cultural enjoyments of language that works may produce and then the radical orgasmic abandonment of the subject that is the extreme experience – the Jouissance – of texts. This writing desire, transgressing academic forms and procedures, distinguished Barthes’s subsequent writings which variously engage the subject in language. Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes (1975) set Barthes out in a series of novelistic fragments, so many “biographemes” to capture and examine a certain imaginary construction of the writer; A Lover’s Discourse (1977c) traced the different moments of the subjectivity of love through the various episodes of language in which it is deployed; Camera Lucida (1980) explored the terms of the subject engaged in the experience of photographs, again mixing analysis and biography. These books and other writings brought Barthes close to the novel, but the novel without any certainty of subject or representation, without any coherence of narrative action or narrating voice. The last course he taught concerned, indeed, the conditions on which a writer of today could conceive of undertaking a novel. The posthumously published Incidents (1987) contains reflections on ways of writing the novelistic surface of everyday existence, together with short diary entries for two different periods of Barthes’s life. These are the first pieces in which Barthes is explicit about his homosexuality, but his work may be importantly read as inflected by a gay textual attention: in accordance with his overall refusal of imperatives of meaning, homosexuality is precisely not a signified in his texts but rather a matter of the signifier, a particular retreat from

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as language, works open. Traditional criticism submits works exactly to the regime of the sign and seeks the signified as a secret to be deciphered, brought out by a discipline of knowledge that thereby explains – represents – the work, settles its meaning. Against which, Barthes as critic assumes the materiality of the signifier and seeks to set works off into a multitude of readings, effecting displacements of meaning, realizing their plural potential. Barthes puts this as the movement from work to text. The works of “literature” are themselves elaborated within the regime of the sign, bound up in given terms of meaning and making a powerful “readerly” representation. In S/Z (1970), Barthes demonstrates this readerliness through a detailed phrase-by-phrase account of a Balzac novella, showing the ways in which narrative and other codes combine to construct a particular, “natural” direction of reading in the interests of a particular coherence – precisely a settlement – of meaning. His demonstration, however, is simultaneously that of the novella’s plurality which the limiting direction of reading cannot fully contain, since any hold over language is itself a linguistic production, exceeded by language; Barthes’s reading, that is, returns Balzac’s work to textuality, to a “writerliness” – its availability for a proliferation of meanings, for an experience of the signifier. What Barthes then understands by and values as text is at once the possibility of plurality in the classic work; the aim and achievement of modern avant-garde nonrepresentational practices of language; an apprehension of language and the signifier that can be had in the interstices of everyday life as well as in written works (“the living writing of the street”); a utopian vision of plurality. In connection with this, a second sense of écriture is developed by Barthes, contrary to that of Writing Degree Zero: writing now names a practice that unsettles forms of closure (the mythical instrumentalizations of language to which écriture earlier referred; writing in this new sense is intransitive, indeterminate in address, nonrepresentational). Such a practice breaks down the division between reader and writer: no longer communication from one to the other but a textual performance in which both instances are put in question, subject and signified dispersed across the “other scene” of language’s infinite productivity.

base and superstructure

54 the rectitude of the fixed divisions of sexes and signs, all the ready sense of sexuality. Barthes’s work finally brings an ethical sensibility. The visceral dislike of the mass of communications, of the foregone conclusions of signs and meanings, goes along with the pleasure in the mobility of signs, the enchantment with the signifier. What is vital for Barthes is always the achievement of a space of movement, some play in the field of meaning: demystification and displacement of the fixtures of sense, access to plurality, desire in language (Barthes registers distress at what he sees as his society’s giving up of language as a site of pleasure, not for any purpose, in perversion). The marginal (askew to given terms and positions), the individual (not unity of the person but a network of singularities), the neutral (the utopia of some peace from meanings) became the key words and topics of his last courses and writings. Literature – works read in their textuality, for their writing – was, as ever, the necessary reference here: literature as the experience of the freedom that it was Barthes’s project as critic, theorist, and writer to propose. See also Semiotics; Sign; Structuralism; Text.

Reading Culler, J. 1983: Barthes. Lavers, A. 1982: Roland Barthes: Structuralism and After. Roger, P. 1986: Roland Barthes, Roman.

stephen heath

base and superstructure The concept of base and superstructure was first employed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in The German Ideology (1845) (1976), to posit the theory that the forces and relations of labor (the base) within a society determine its social consciousness (the superstructure) and class system, all of which in turn shape the entity of the state for the good of its ruling class. The concept is defined in this passage from Marx’s Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859) (1976): In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of

development of their material forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of a society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but on the contrary, their social being that determines consciousness. (Marx, 1976, p. 3)

In terms of the elements of the superstructure, Marx and Engels identify law, politics, religion, Aesthetics, and Art as “definite forms of social consciousness,” which they term “ideology.” Ideology, which purports to represent the ideas of an entire society, (its “social consciousness”), actually serves to validate the power of the ruling social class, the owners of economic production. However, Marx and Engels also theorize that superstructure and ideology are not mere reflections of a society’s economic base; both grow from the economic base, but may develop apart from it as well, often functioning with considerable autonomy. In addition, the sophistication of the base does not necessarily correspond to the sophistication of the superstructure. For example, a society which is economically underdeveloped may attain considerable artistic achievements. Marx uses the case of classic Greek civilization to press the issue that “in the case of the arts, it is well known that certain periods of their flowering are out of all proportion to the general development of society, hence also to the material foundation, the skeletal structure . . . of its organization.” Engels in particular suggests that the relationship between the base and the superstructure is not an automatic or strictly linear one: the superstructure (or parts of it) can actually create change within the base, rather than merely reflect it (Marx and Engels, 1968, pp. 682–3).

Reading Eagleton, T. 1976: Marxism and Literary Criticism. Engels, F. 1968 (1977): “Letter to J. Bloch.” Marx, K. 1976: Preface and Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. —— and Engels, F. 1970 (1982): The German Ideology: Part One.

susan r. skand

55 the carnal. The grounds of Bataille’s argument with surrealism, at least as its principles were expounded by André Breton, were that its interest in such excessive and unspeakable forms was accessory to the aim of sublimating the real into the “sur-real,” the higher reality apprehended by art. Bataille’s interest was drawn by contrast to the degradation of carnality, and especially those portions or functions of the human body which cannot but pose a threat to the integrity of individual and social identity, and so must be expelled from consciousness or acknowledgement – the anus, the genitals, the big toe. This interest may be contrasted with that of the Soviet linguist and critic Mikhail Bakhtin. Where Bakhtin’s aim is to reintegrate a body politic which has split itself neurotically and repressively between upper and lower, Bataille refuses to allow the expulsive, subversive violence of the body to be safely recuperated in the larger integration of the person or the social group. Bataille’s interest in everything excessive to or unassimilable by official social forms, an interest which he called “heterology,” received a decisive impetus from his reading in the late 1920s of the work of the French anthropologist Marcel Mauss. Mauss’s The Gift (1923) includes an analysis of the practice of potlatch among native people of the Northwestern American coast, a practice in which prodigious quantities of goods and property are ceremonially destroyed with no other purpose than the gratuitous exhilaration derived from the act. Bataille responded enthusiastically to Mauss’s suggestion that the practice of potlatch pointed to an economic, social, and psychological principle in human life which was at odds with the principles of utility and rational self-interest which held sway in developed societies. The idea that the fundamental drive in all human life is towards glorious expenditure rather than prudent conservation is enlarged upon in Bataille’s 1933 essay “The notion of expenditure” (Bataille, 1985, pp. 116–29). This idea made sense of Bataille’s fascination up to that time with the laughable, the grotesque, and the formless, in fact with everything that official society stigmatized as wasteful or without value, and it remained the organizing idea behind Bataille’s subsequent investigations into art, literature, politics, ethnology, archaeology, philosophy, theology, sexuality, psychology, and economics. His Interior Experience

Bataille, Georges

Bataille, Georges (1897–1962) Although his work as a novelist, philosopher, and theorist of Art and Culture is intimately related to the intellectual movements of the earlier part of this century, and especially French surrealism, Georges Bataille has exercised a powerful and continuing influence on much philosophy and Cultural theory during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including the work of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes, and Julia Kristeva in his native France, as well as critical and cultural theorists elsewhere. After an unpromising academic beginning, Bataille trained as a librarian at the Ecole des Chartes and in 1922 obtained a position at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris which he was to hold for 20 years until his resignation on grounds of ill-health in 1942. After meeting Michel Leiris in 1924, Bataille began an association with the surrealist movement. He was one of the founders in 1929 of Documents, a review devoted to subjects such as Art, ethnography, and Psychoanalysis, to which he contributed a number of rather disturbing and obsessional essays. These aroused the wrath of André Breton, the official leader of Parisian surrealism, with whom Bataille was to be locked in bitter dispute through the early years of the 1930s. During this period, Bataille espoused an anti-Stalinist Marxism, which he expressed in his contributions to the journal La Critique Sociale from 1931 to 1934 and in his interest in Contre-Attaque, a political group which he founded in 1935. From 1936 onwards, however, the influence of Marx gave way to that of Nietzsche, as Bataille joined a small secret society of intellectuals called Acéphale, after the title of the short-lived journal which they published, and a more public group, the Collège de Sociologie. The latter, with which Bataille was associated from 1937 to 1939, was committed to the exploration of the sacred in primitive social life, and had the aim of making its forms and energies available for developed societies. After the war, Bataille devoted himself to ethnographic investigations, theological and philosophical speculation, and the writing of fiction, much of it pornographic. From the beginning of his absorption in surrealism Bataille had been deeply attracted by the movement’s interest in the base, the degraded, and

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56 (1943, trans. 1988) attempted to articulate the value of a form of mystical self-abasement which would not be a mere detour from the road to the positive benefits of salvation or enlightenment. His Literature and Evil (1957b, trans. 1985) explored the principle of amoral intensity as he found it in the works of Emily Brontë, William Blake, the Marquis de Sade, and Jean Genet. In Eroticism (1957a, trans. 1962), Bataille gathered evidence of the close association between sexuality, violence, and death, especially in practices of mutilation and bodily extremity; this is an association which had been elaborated in Bataille’s own extraordinary pornographic fable, The Story of the Eye (1928, trans. 1979), which was much admired by Roland Barthes for its conjoining of bodily and textual perversity. The most ambitious and encompassing statement of Bataille’s economic theories is to be found in his The Accursed Share (1949, trans. 1988), which argues that the principle of expenditure in fact governs the astrobiological economics of the physical cosmos; Bataille finds the enactment of this in the sun, which we are accustomed to think of as the principle of life and increase, but is in fact nothing more than a “ceaseless prodigality” of slow but glorious self-destruction (Bataille, 1988, p. 29). Bataille’s influence has been immense and farreaching. His uneasy relationship with Marxism, for example, anticipates that of many later French cultural theorists. Bataille for a time was attracted by the possibility that Marxism might release the revolutionary energies of transgression, though he was increasingly repelled by the repressive bureaucracy of state Marxism in the Soviet Union. His fidelity to the idea of a politics of ecstatic excess, which went beyond the constraining forms of institutionalized politics, provided a powerful precedent for the “libidinal politics” of Jean-François Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari in the late 1960s. Bataille’s interest in Nietzsche may have been partly responsible for transmitting the prestige of this writer to French poststructuralism, especially in the work of Michel Foucault. Foucault is drawn in particular to the principle of transgression that is theorized in Bataille’s work, a transgression of boundaries that Foucault believes goes beyond even the conventional divisions between the conventional and the transgressive,

in its affirmation of “the limitlessness into which it leaps as it opens this zone to existence” (Foucault, 1997, p. 35). Jean Baudrillard’s investigation during the early 1970s of the nature of value in contemporary consumer society draws heavily on Baudrillard’s writings on economics. Bataille’s critique of what he saw as the inherent conservatism of the economic model of the psyche in Freudian psychoanalysis has been taken up in various ways in the rereading of Freud conducted by recent French psychoanalysts, such as Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva; the latter’s exploration of the force of the “abject” in social and psychological life draws particularly on Bataille. Perhaps the most significant area of Bataille’s influence on contemporary thought has been the impact of his writing on the work of Jacques Derrida. Derrida’s essay on Bataille in his Writing and Difference explores the challenge which Bataille’s work offers to the prestige of reason in the Hegelian tradition. Where, in the dialectical process described by Hegel, reason encounters its opposite or negation, in order finally to assimilate that negativity to a heightened and enlarged self-knowledge, Bataille’s work proposes the ways in which reason can negotiate its own forms of absolute undoing or, in the term which Bataille uses to run together the economic and the philosophical, “dé-pense.” Such a procedure has much in common with the process of Deconstruction which Derrida goes on to develop in later work.

Reading Bataille, Georges 1928 (1979): The Story of the Eye. —— 1943 (1988): Inner Experience. —— 1949 (1988): The Accursed Share. —— 1957a (1962): Eroticism: Death and Sensuality. —— 1957b (1985): Literature and Evil. —— 1985: Visions of Excess: Selected Writings 1927– 1939. Derrida, Jacques 1978a: “An hegelianism without reserve: from restricted to general economy in Georges Bataille.” Foucault, Michel 1977b: “Preface to transgression.” Hollier, Denis, ed. 1979: Le Collège de Sociologie: Textes de Georges Bataille et Autres. Mauss, Marcel 1923 (1990): The Gift: Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Richman, Michele 1982: Reading Georges Bataille: Beyond the Gift.

steven connor

57 logical and necessary extension of the rationalization of the means of production. In For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign (1972) and The Mirror of Production (1973), Baudrillard mounts a devastating assault on the idea of production which is so central to Marxist sociology. He focuses in these two books on the Marxist theory of value, and especially on the fundamental distinction it draws between use values, which are held to be immediate, authentic, and unfalsifiable, and exchange values, which come into being with the institution of the market, and are artificial, distorted, and exploitative. Baudrillard’s argument is that all needs of whatever kind are always produced as the effect of structures of exchange and, latterly, as an effect of the code of consumption. The notion of use value therefore offers no political promise of redemption from the artificialities and distortions of the market, since use value is produced as a derivative or precipitate of the market. “Use value has no autonomy, it is only the satellite and alibi of exchange value,” writes Baudrillard (1981, p. 139). Nevertheless, despite the hostility toward a central principle of Marxist analysis of culture, Baudrillard still seems at this point to be trying to revive and radicalize Marxist analysis rather than to bury it. These works, as well as his next, Symbolic Exchange and Death (1976, trans. 1993), show the strain of trying to maintain an ideal and a rhetoric of social critique while seemingly undermining all of the values and principles which might give such critique its point. If there is no possibility of defining authentic human needs and values under market conditions that seem so totally to have abolished the distinction between the authentic and the artificial, if, indeed, that dream is a production of the very system against which it seems to stand, then what kind of critique is possible, and in the name of what conceivable form of liberation? In some of the essays dealing with the revolutionary spectacles and events of May 1968 in For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign, Baudrillard had still seemed to glimpse some principle of resistance to or refusal of what he calls grimly “the code.” But the conclusion towards which he moves inexorably in L’Echange symbolique et la mort (1976) is that the system of symbolic exchange at work in contemporary consumer society is so all-encompassing that the only principle of

Baudrillard, Jean

Baudrillard, Jean (1929–2007) Jean Baudrillard moved from being a sociologist of consumer society to being the most notorious and immoderate of the thinkers associated with Postmodernism. The account he develops of contemporary mass culture and the mass media is far-reaching and extravagant in its claims, and has had an important influence across a number of disciplines, especially Cultural studies, Film, and Literary criticism. It would probably also be true to say that the very flamboyance and hyperbole of Baudrillard’s writing, especially from the 1980s onwards, which has brought him in almost equal measure such widespread adulation and notoriety, has also prevented that work from receiving the serious and sustained critical attention which it deserves. Baudrillard’s writing career began, like that of many French theorists since the 1960s, with a complex argument with Marxism, an argument which is given particular impetus by the euphoria and defeat of the events of May 1968. The shape of Baudrillard’s social theory is determined by the trajectory of his disaffiliation from Marxism. In a series of books which appeared between 1968 and 1973, Baudrillard undertakes to free social analysis from the narrow determinism of a Marxism that reduced Culture to the secondary effect of economic factors and relations. In Le Système des Objects (1968) and La Société de Consommation (1970), he argues that in a society organized on the principle of consumption rather than production, the economic categories of need, supply, distribution, and profit are inadequate for analyzing the nature and function of objects and commodities. Baudrillard maintains that the circulation of material goods in late twentieth-century developed economies is comprehensible only as the operation and diversification of linguistic codes. Baudrillard’s most important contribution to the theory of consumer society is his insistence that consumption has little to do with the satisfaction of needs, actual or artificial. His argument is that Consumer Culture creates and sustains a universal Code or System of exchangeability between commodities. The desire of the consumer is not for this or that object or element within the code, but rather for inclusion within the system of consumption as a whole. Such inclusion is a potent means of social control, and is a wholly

Baudrillard, Jean

58 resistance lies in the destruction or negation of all value or utility whatsoever. The only alternative value is the negation of value itself; such that ultimately and in a political sense, highly unpromisingly, the only challenge to the dominance of symbolic value is death. In this period of his work, Baudrillard draws close to the extreme political and aesthetic position associated with the work of Georges Bataille, who similarly rejects the principle of value as such. From this point on, Baudrillard begins to develop the theoretical analysis of the present with which he has come to be most clearly identified, the analysis of the regime of the simulacrum. The distance travelled in Baudrillard’s analysis from his works of the 1970s may be measured by a judgment offered in “The last tango of value,” the final essay of his volume Simulacres et Simulation (1981). There the institution of the university, which 13 years before had seemed like the laboratory of new social and political values, is now characterized as “the site of a desperate initiation into the empty form of value,” an obedient replication of that emptying out of value into indifference which has become the general condition of contemporary culture. The most influential of Baudrillard’s works from the 1980s is the essay “The precession of simulacra” from the same collection. There, he suggests that the dominance of signs, images, and representations in the contemporary world is such that the real has been effectively obliterated, and “truth, reference and objective causes have ceased to exist” (Baudrillard, 1988, p. 168; n.b. this translation of Baudrillard’s essay confusingly gives it the title of the volume from which it is derived, “Simulacra and simulations”). He provides a useful, if slightly tongue-in-cheek synopsis of the historical stages by which this condition has been reached. Initially, the sign is “the reflection of a basic reality. In the second stage, the sign “masks and perverts a basic reality” (this is perhaps the stage of Ideo-logy and manufactured false consciousness). In a third stage, the sign “masks the absence of a basic reality.” In the fourth stage, at which the contemporary world has arrived, and from which it can hope neither to progress nor retreat, the sign “bears no relation to any reality whatever; it is its own pure simulacrum” (Baudrillard, 1988, p. 170).

Baudrillard’s argument is often misunderstood. It is sometimes objected, for example, that the disappearance of reality is scarcely something that can constitute a historical event. Either the real continues to exist, only masked and dissimulated beneath impenetrable layers of simulation, in which case Baudrillard’s claims about its disappearance are merely rhetorical; or it has never really existed, so that the developments Baudrillard describes are really only the recognition that what counts as “real” is always dependent upon activities of representation. However, these objections rest on an assumed absolute contrast between the real and the fictive which it is precisely the purpose of Baudrillard’s analysis to contest. Central to that analysis is his provocative distinguishing of simulation from imitation. If one imitates or counterfeits an illness, it may be difficult, but not in principle impossible to detect the fraud, for such imitation keeps the distinction between the real and the false intact, even as it masks it. But when an illness is simulated, as for example in certain hysterical or psychosomatic conditions, some of the symptoms of the “actual” illness may indeed be produced in the person of the simulator. In such a case, the either/or logic of real and false, truth and deceit is threatened. It is this condition which Baudrillard insists is that of the modern world. It is not that everything has become purely fictional, or without real effects, since the point about a simulation is that it is both real and unreal (the simulated illness is a simulation rather than an imposture precisely because it does produce real effects). The basis of Baudrillard’s argument is therefore not shaken substantially by arguments such as those of Christopher Norris, who pours scorn on Baudrillard’s apparently lunatic prophecy in an article in The Guardian newspaper in February 1991 that the Gulf War would not take place, and his serene assurance in an article of the following month that despite all bloody appearances, the Gulf War had not in fact taken place (see Norris, 1993; Baudrillard, 1991). To argue as Baudrillard did that the Gulf War was so completely designed and executed as a media spectacle that it could not be said to have taken place as other wars have is not to argue that the Gulf War was a simple fabrication (this is to fall back into the real/false pattern of thinking which Baudrillard claims is no longer adequate or even

59 declares to be impossible; as though a form of theory and critique that denies itself the authority to speak on behalf of the truth continued to assert an aesthetic principle of value in the transcendence or intensification of the real.

Reading Baudrillard, Jean 1968: Le Système des objets. —— 1970: La Société de consommation. —— 1972 (1981): For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. —— 1973 (1975): The Mirror of Production. —— 1976 (1993): Symbolic Exchange and Death. —— 1979 (1990): Seduction. —— 1981 (1983): Simulacra and Simulations. —— 1988: Selected Writings. —— 1990 (1993): The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena. —— 1991: La Guerre du Golfe n’a pas lieu. Kellner, Douglas 1989: Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Postmodernism and Beyond. Norris, Christopher 1992: Uncritical Theory: Postmodernism, Intellectuals and the Gulf War.

steven connor

Bazin, André (1918–58) André Bazin has some claim to be one of the most influential Western intellectuals of the twentieth century. The magazine that he founded, Cahiers du cinema, not only gave birth to the Nouvelle Vague – the single most important movement of post-war cinema – but also provided a vocabulary for talking about the cinema that continues to be used from Hollywood studios to experimental art schools. However, Bazin died at the early age of 40 in 1958 just before the 1960s explosion of Parisian theory, and for a generation his work, while always acknowledged as foundational for film studies, has often been treated as theoretically naive. However, in the past decade there has been a renewed surge of interest in Bazin and it is likely that in the twenty-first century his importance will continue to grow as the sophistication of his work, balancing technological, industrial, and formal analyses of film within the widest cultural and historical perspectives, becomes more and more evident. Bazin was a product of the French Third Republic for whom education was a state ideology, and after a youth spent in the French provinces Bazin came to Paris in 1938 as a student at the

Bazin, André

available). Rather it is to claim that it is simulation, precisely to the degree that the reproductive technology which represented the war as a spectacle also was the war in actual fact (this was instanced grotesquely in the guided missiles which had cameras in their nose cones). A war that consists largely of its own representation is no longer a real war in the old sense, no matter how ghastly its human consequences. Perhaps the most telling part of Baudrillard’s analysis of the effect of the waning of the sense of reality in the age of the simulacrum is his account of the “escalation of the true” which takes place as a kind of panic-stricken compensation, “a proliferation of myths of origin and signs of reality; of second-hand truth, objectivity and authenticity” (Baudrillard, 1988, p. 171). The desire to believe in what is natural, primitive, “real,” or otherwise beyond the reach of reproductive or simulacral technologies is heightened by the awareness of the fading of such unfalsifiable truth. Paradoxically, this very desire can only express itself through more energetic acts of simulation than ever before. The false feeds the dream of the true, which can appear only as the “hyperreal” or simulated true. Baudrillard develops an impressive array of terms and metaphors, many of them drawn from science fiction, to dramatize the grim fascination of appearances in the contemporary world. He has construed the world in biological terms, as the operationalization of codes and models, just as every embodied form is an operationalization of the DNA which precedes and determines it. Elsewhere, he speaks of the “satellization” of the world, to convey the idea that the world has been reassembled as a perfect replica, and put into orbit around itself. Military metaphors also feature, in so far as modern military strategy seems a perfect exemplification of much of his argument: the world of appearance and reproduction is said to be a kind of “deterrence” of the real. Baudrillard devotes a whole book to an analysis of the effect of “seduction” which he claims signs and images exercise in the modern world (1979). The overheated multiplication of these images and devices in the restless proliferation of brilliant analyses that Baudrillard continued to conduct of different areas of contemporary art and culture almost seems like a secret enactment of the principle of resistance that his analysis coolly

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60 prestigious École Normale Superieure at St Cloud to train as a teacher. There is no doubt that Bazin always thought of himself first and foremost as a teacher, but his educational efforts took place completely outside the state educational system. There is a simple explanation for this: in 1941 he failed a crucial exam because of his stammer. However, such failures were, and are, common in the French system, even at the most elite level, and the normal course of action would simply have been to retake the exam. Bazin, however, chose to interpret this setback as the sign that he must seek his vocation independently of the state. There is no doubt that this choice was in considerable measure due to the generalized disgust that Bazin, like so many others of his generation, felt for the institutions of the French state after the French capitulation to the Germans in the summer of 1940 and the establishment of the Vichy government of Petain. Before 1940 Bazin’s engagement with film was simply a part of his extraordinary range of interests: from geology to zoology, from recent American fiction to the German Phenomenology that was to have such an impact in France through the work of Sartre. But he was predisposed to take film more seriously than many intellectuals because of his attachment to the journal Esprit, of which he was an avid reader when he came as a student to Paris and to which he became an important contributor right up to his death. Esprit was a Catholic journal of the non-Communist left and it included among its contributors the film maker and critic Roger Leenhardt. Leenhardt was one of the few intellectuals to welcome the advent of sound. For many sound spelt the death of an intellectual commitment to cinema, ending the dream of a universal language that would transcend national tongues and increasing the cost of production beyond the means of individuals. For Leenhardt, however, sound signaled a massive gain in film’s ability to capture reality and it is this capturing of reality that, for Leenhardt, is the essence of cinema. Leenhardt also had an educational project – to teach cinemagoers enough about the technical aspects of cinema that they could become better critics – and, in the late 1930s, Esprit carried five articles that began this critical introduction to the cinema. In many ways Leenhardt sketched the program that Bazin was to implement.

Theoretically Bazin was to develop an account of the cinema that located its realist aesthetic in the fundamental technology of the camera. In perhaps his single most important essay, “The Ontology of the Photographic Image,” published in 1944, Bazin argued that the invention of photography was the most important event in the history of the plastic arts. Before photography, the plastic arts had always attempted a realism that was inevitably deficient as it was dependent on the subjectivity of the artist. The camera’s image was produced mechanically and chemically without any subjective element. The object photographed was, thus, directly related to the object represented in the photograph. In Pierce’s terms the relation between object and representation in the photograph is indexical – there is a causal relation between the one and the other. Few of Bazin’s writings are as purely theoretical as this early essay but the commitment to realism is a constant of his writing. Later critics such as Jean-Luc Godard and Serge Daney argued strongly that while retaining Bazin’s commitment to the realism of the image, it was important to recognize that the placing of the camera always involved a subjective element. The camera did not record any object, it recorded the objects on which it was focused. If Bazin does not articulate this position theoretically, it is crucial to recognize that in his critical writings of the immediate postwar years, the realist aesthetic that he elaborates is very far from a simple empiricism because both camera and object are articulated within complex and contradictory histories. Bazin’s two great directors are Orson Welles and Roberto Rossellini and the two key films Citizen Kane and Paisa. It is important to recognize how different are the realisms of these two directors. Kane marks a decisive step in the realism of the cinema because of its use of new lenses that allow Welles and his cinematographer Gregg Toland to capture a much greater depth of field in which competing centers of narrative interest can be watched at the same time. The new “deep” images allow Welles to portray a more complex reality and free the spectators to choose where to direct their visual attention within the image. Rossellini’s gain in realism is not technological but social: he amalgamates fiction and reality, above all by his use of non-professional actors. The streets of the towns and cities of

61 contradictions of the movements of history. At this point Bazin had isolated himself not only from the academic world, for whom all film was simply an indication of the poverty of modern culture, but also from the Communist left, which regarded all American films as anathema. It was from this position of political and cultural isolation that Bazin decided to found a film magazine with the name Les Cahiers du cinema. If he could no longer educate cinema’s vast popular audiences directly then he would, in his own words, retreat to the cafes of the Left Bank and educate the next generation of critics and thus carry out his cultural program at one remove. Rarely can any cultural enterprise have been so successful. A whole host of young critics began their careers writing in the pages of Cahiers in the 1950s, critics who were to become famous as directors themselves: Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, and François Truffaut. It was these critics who were to elaborate the auteur theory that continues to dominate much critical and commercial discourse about the cinema and who were to establish a canon of Hollywood directors that remains little altered to this day. In 1959 Godard was to sum up the cultural battles of the previous decade: “We won the day in having it acknowledged in principle that a film by Hitchcock for example is as important as a book by Aragon. Film auteurs thanks to us have finally entered the history of art.” By the time of Godard’s victorious pronouncement Bazin was dead. Ill health had dogged him all his life and he finally succumbed to leukemia on the very day that François Truffaut finished the first day’s shooting on his debut feature Les Quatre Cent Coups. Of all the “young Turks” who wrote in the pages of Cahiers, it was Truffaut who was the closest to Bazin. Bazin had encountered Truffaut as a film-mad juvenile delinquent with a desperately unhappy home life, and it was Bazin who had taken him into his own home and treated him as his own son. There is something almost mystical in the coincidence that has Truffaut rushing from his first day’s shooting to the deathbed of the critic who had done so much to enable a new generation to undertake a new kind of film-making. In the immediate decades after his death Bazin suffered something of an eclipse. Not only was his work scorned by the theoreticians but

Bazin, André

Paisa are so vivid because the figures that inhabit them are not actors but the men, women, and children who are living through the dreadful realities of postwar Italy. If we consider these two examples we can understand that for Bazin both camera (technological history) and setting (social history) are a continuously variable conjunction, and the audience for which the film is projected is a yet further element that critics must build into their analyses. Few critics have ever addressed so many and so varied audiences as Bazin. From the Liberation to his death Bazin earned his living by writing for mass circulation newspapers and it is important to understand this regular discipline as an important part of his formation as a critic. More important, in the immediate postwar years, he ran a variety of cine-clubs, some addressed to the intellectual elite of Left Bank Paris – Sartre and de Beauvoir were regular visitors – but others engaging vast popular audiences from Morocco to Germany. There is no doubt that the most important organization for which Bazin worked at this time was Travail et Culture, which sought to provide the best cultural entertainment for working class audiences. In Travail et Culture Bazin could pursue his fundamental cultural ambition – to produce a better cinema by educating audiences in the history and technology of the cinema. These educated audiences would then demand a better cinema. However, the high hopes of the immediate postwar era broke against the rocks of the emerging Cold War as everyone inside organizations like Travail et Culture was required to choose sides – for or against the Soviet Union. The choice was particularly acute for anyone interested in the cinema. Hollywood was in the last phase of its classic period, producing masterpieces by the week, while Soviet cinema had declined from the great period of the 1920s into the most slavish adulation of Stalin. To be on the Communist left one had to denounce these Hollywood classics and praise banal Stalinist propaganda. This was impossible for Bazin and in l950 in Esprit he published an article entitled “The Myth of Stalin” in which he demonstrated that the representation of history in the films of the Stalinist era was completely at odds with the great Soviet films of the 1920s, substituting a mythic “great mind” for the complexities and

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62 the position of the critic, so key to Bazin’s program, was fundamentally altered as the studios adopted huge platform releases in which the opinions of individual critics were of no account. However, Bazin’s work is much more theoretically sophisticated than his critics have suggested and it is now engaging a new generation of more historically informed theorists. Some have suggested that the arrival of the digital image undermines Bazin’s fundamental axiom of the indexical relation between object and representation. However, if it is true that it is possible to produce non-indexical digital images, it is also true that the vast majority of digital images continue to acquire their power from their indexical relation to reality. Finally, as the number of platforms for visual images proliferate the role of the critic/curator looks set to become ever more important. Bazin’s work remains full of lessons for the present and he has yet to find any challenger for the title of the single greatest writer on the cinema.

Reading Bazin, André 1971: What Is Cinema? Vol. 2. —— 2005: What Is Cinema? Vol. 1. Dudley, Andrew 1978: André Bazin. —— ed. forthcoming: Opening Bazin. MacCabe, Colin 2003: Goddard: Portrait of the Artist at 70.

colin maccabe

Beauvoir, Simone de (1908–86) French philosopher and novelist. Simone de Beauvoir was a pioneering feminist philosopher who has been justly called “the emblematic intellectual woman of the twentieth century” (Moi, 1994, p. 1). Her reputation, which is secure virtually everywhere but in France, rests largely on her prolific work as a writer and social activist. Her more than 25 books include works of philosophy: Pyrrhus et Cineas (1944), The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), The Second Sex (1949); fiction: She Came to Stay (1943), The Mandarins (1954), The Woman Destroyed (1968); and memoirs: Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1958), The Prime of Life (1960), Force of Circumstance (1963), All Said and Done (1972). Although she was unable to enter the Ecole Normale Supérieure, which did not grant full

student status to women until 1927, Beauvoir first studied mathematics, classics, and literature, and then in 1929 passed the prestigious agrégation examination at the Sorbonne in philosophy. She was only the ninth woman ever to have passed that examination in philosophy and the youngest agrégée (man or woman) ever in that discipline. Furthermore, she received the second highest mark, the first that year going to Jean-Paul Sartre, with whom she was to have a lifelong relationship. Despite the many obstacles she had to overcome or to circumvent in order to do philosophy and be an intellectual woman, it was not until 1946, in a conversation with Sartre, that she was fully struck by the consequences of the difference between being born a woman and being born a man. This realization led her to give full attention to finding out about the condition of woman in its broadest terms (Beauvoir, 1963, p. 103). The result of this search was her most influential book, The Second Sex, which echoes the opening words of Rousseau’s Social Contract, in its proclamation of the birth of the free woman. Throughout the 1950s, The Second Sex was the only book by an intellectual woman that exposed the hypocrisies of patriarchal Ideology (for an account of the book’s reception, see Moi, 1994, pp. 179–213). However, as soon as the first installments of The Second Sex began to appear in Les Temps Modernes in 1948/9, the French intellectual establishment, including Albert Camus and François Mauriac, launched a series of outraged attacks on its author. Beauvoir recalled the hysteria of many of her first French readers in Force of Circumstance: “Unsatisfied, cold, priapic, nymphomaniac, lesbian, a hundred times aborted, I was everything, even an unmarried mother. People offered to cure me of my frigidity or to satisfy my ghoulish appetites” (Beauvoir, 1963, p. 197). Despite the moral courage and intellectual achievement of her book, Beauvoir has been either ignored or vehemently dismissed by such prominent French feminists as Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and Hélène Cixous. An important recent exception to this treatment is the work of Michèle Le Dœuff, who in Hipparchia’s Choice demonstrates the importance of The Second Sex as simultaneously a work of materialist feminism and philosophical critique.

63 Beauvoir, Simone de 1949 (1984): The Second Sex. —— 1963 (1987): Force of Circumstance. Le Dœuff, Michèle 1989 (1991): Hipparchia’s Choice: An Essay Concerning Women, Philosophy, etc. Moi, Toril 1994: Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman.

michael payne

Becker, Howard Saul (1928–) American sociologist trained in the Chicago school of symbolic interactionism. Becker’s work has had a significant influence on Cultural theory in two areas. His initial research on jazz clubs and musicians, published as Outsiders (1963), was central to 1960s deviant theory and had a major impact on British studies of both Subculture and Popular culture (Becker was one of the few academics to study popular music). And in his 1970s work on Art Worlds, Becker, like Pierre Bourdieu, demonstrated the continuing value of a sociological approach to aesthetic questions.

Reading Becker, Howard S. 1963: Outsiders. Studies in the Sociology of Deviant. —— 1982: Art Worlds.

simon frith

Benjamin, Walter (1892–40) GermanJewish philosopher and literary critic. He committed suicide while attempting to cross from occupied France into Spain on his way to America. Probably the most important European theorist of Culture this century; certainly the most important to identify with the Marxist tradition. Benjamin’s writings display an extraordinary range of interests, often combining what at first sight appear to be eccentric and incompatible approaches to their objects. They are resolutely cross-disciplinary, and as concerned with what were then the latest cultural technologies (photography, film, radio) as they are with both the classical forms of bourgeois culture (drama, Poetry, the novel) and its more neglected marginalia (such as nineteenth-century children’s books and toys). Benjamin’s writings are associated with the theoretical combination of materialist and theological perspectives. Thus, while his work

may in some respects be seen as a forerunner of the omnivorous pluralism of Cultural studies, in others it belongs to a different world entirely – the world of 1920s Jewish Marxism with its subtle meditations on the inextricability of truth and history. This diversity of perspectives and concerns has produced a number of competing schools of interpretation, each with its own distinctive “Benjamin,” between which there has been heated debate: Benjamin the Critic, Benjamin the Marxist, Benjamin the Modernist, Benjamin the Jew. These disputes are complicated by the fact that Benjamin’s thought developed through a series of distinct phases, marked by close personal relationships with other thinkers (in particular, Scholem, Adorno, and Brecht). Ideas from earlier periods were never wholly rejected, but subjected to a continual and unfinished process of recasting. The key to the continuity of this process lies in Benjamin’s distinction between immediate, everyday experience (Erlebnis) and authentic or philosophical experience (Erfahrung). The practical goal of all Benjamin’s work was to transform everyday experience into the experience of truth: to seek out the ecstatic within the everyday, to find “history” within the merely historical, in order to recover the repressed energies of the past for the construction of a better future. In this almost Manichean polarization of forms of experience, Benjamin’s writings may be compared to the other great philosophical work of Weimar culture, Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927), with its central distinction between “authentic” and “inauthentic” existence. However, despite this structural parallel, Benjamin’s work stands opposed to Heidegger’s in almost every other respect, both theoretically and politically. Benjamin’s concern throughout the 1930s with the interconnected themes of Art, truth, and history constitutes a direct reply to Heidegger’s work: the counterposition of a revolutionary Marxist philosophy of historical time to the philosophy of time and “Being” of the conservative revolution of German fascism. The best way to chart the continuities and ruptures in Benjamin’s thinking is to follow the changes in his conception of truth. This delineates a path from an early Romantic aestheticism, associated with a programmatic rejection of

Benjamin, Walter


Benjamin, Walter

64 politics, to a theologically enriched historical materialism of cultural forms, in solidarity with a left-wing communism, via the “profane illumination” of “Surrealist experience” (Benjamin, 1929). Benjamin’s thought developed under the cumulative impact of a series of models of cultural experience – Proust, Kafka, Baudelaire, Brecht (Benjamin, 1968) – which were constantly reworked to provide the terms of a Marxist theory of Modernity. But it is surrealism which is the key to the practical hopes of Benjamin’s later writings. Son of a well-to-do Jewish businessman who had made his money as an art dealer, Benjamin began his intellectual career at the University of Freiburg in the years immediately preceding the 1914–18 war with a dual rejection: intellectual rejection of the Neo-Kantianism then dominant in the academy in favor of a esoteric metaphysics of values; political rejection of the values of Wilhelminian society (what he later called “the abyss of my own class”), in favor of the anarchic radicalism of the Free Student Movement. An important, if little studied work from this period is entitled “Metaphysics of youth” (Benjamin, 1913). At the same time, Benjamin committed himself to a type of cultural Zionism that was resolutely internationalist. Judaism was understood as the representative of spiritual values per se, rather than the basis for any kind of nationally specific project. His early writings include an esoteric philosophy of Language, centered on a biblical theory of naming, and an interrogation of the “mystical premises” of the early Romantic concept of criticism, in which he claims that “the very centre of Romanticism” is its Messianism. At this stage, Benjamin’s project was to expand to infinity the range of philosophical experience and to comprehend such experience on the model of the experience of the work of art. Criticism was the key to such comprehension since, according to Benjamin, it is criticism which “completes” the work. Developing from his doctoral dissertation on The Concept of Art Criticism in German Romanticism (1919), Benjamin’s essay on Goethe’s Elective Affinities (1923) elaborates a systematic critique of the Symbol as the cognitive structure of the work of art, identifying truth with allegory and the absence of expression. (The polemical force of this argument in the

context of expressionism is clear.) At this point, Benjamin understood truth as a quasi-Platonic realm of ideas, represented by works of art, but recoverable as experience only through the philosophical criticism of art. This theory achieves its final form in the difficult Prologue to Benjamin’s Habilitation, the higher degree required for a tenured position in a German university, The Origin of German Trauerspiel (Benjamin, 1928a). (Trauerspiel means “sorrow play.” It is a little-studied baroque genre which Benjamin distinguished in principle from classical Tragedy.) The reception of this work – it was withdrawn to avoid formal rejection by the University of Frankfurt – led to the abrupt termination of the academic phase of Benjamin’s life. Henceforth he would earn his living from journalism and take his motivation from politics, although he never became a member of the German Communist Party, with which he sympathized. In leaving the academy for politics and the press, Benjamin abandoned the esoteric aspirations of his early work, replacing them with reflection on the historical conditions of its failure, in the form of a theorization of Modernity as the destruction of tradition. It is this theorization, embodied in the developing frame of Benjamin’s critical essays, which constitutes his most enduring contribution to Cultural theory. It derived its inspiration from the cultural and political Avant-garde of West Berlin, but it includes among its resources materials from the very tradition it rejects as beyond recuperation: the mystical tradition of Jewish Messianism, as recovered by Gershom Scholem, Benjamin’s friend from before the 1914–18 war. Benjamin’s mature work is a sustained reflection on the contradictory relations between modernity and tradition, in which a variety of cultural forms are subjected to historical interpretation within the terms of a philosophy of history which draws on the Marxist and Messianic traditions alike. Yet Benjamin is far from being an eclectic thinker. Rather, once he grasped the depth of what he called the “crisis in the arts” as symptomatic of a crisis in the very form of historical time (tradition) upon which the work of art depends for its social existence, he saw that the question of truth had been displaced by history from art onto the historical process itself.

65 model for such writing – alternating between writing and action – was the film. “All the problems of contemporary art,” Benjamin wrote in his massive unfinished work on nineteenth-century Paris, the Arcades Project, “find their final formulation only in relation to film” (Benjamin, 1972, V). To understand this statement, one needs to appreciate the depth to which Benjamin understood all forms of cultural experience as having been transformed by technology and commodification (Benjamin, 1936). In its inherent “reproducibility,” culture in twentieth-century capitalist societies distinguishes itself from all previous artistic forms, and contains a potentially progressive collective content. At the same time, however, this content is imprisoned within the fetish character of the commodity form, which cuts off the experience of the work from an appreciation of the social processes through which it is produced, received, and transmitted to future generations. Benjamin took Brecht’s epic theater as the model for an artistic practice which would combat this tendency toward self-enclosure by making the exposure of the conditions for the production of the work a part of the work itself. In this vein, he developed the idea of the author as a “producer,” on the model of Marx’s analysis of the labor process (Benjamin, 1934). On the other hand, Benjamin set himself apart from other Marxist theorists of culture by refusing to dismiss the commodity form merely as a realm of false consciousness. Instead, he attempted its “dialectical redemption” as a form of historical consciousness by seeking, through its fetish character, access to a new (allegorical) form of experience of history as a fulfilled whole. The light cast by this essentially instantaneous experience of history as a whole – for which Benjamin used the term Jetztzeit, meaning “now-time” – is taken to reveal the present as unfulfilled, and thereby to provide an impulse to its radical transformation. The anarchic libertarianism of Benjamin’s youth is thus reproduced in his mature theory in the explosive structure of the Messianic “now,” although this is only the best known of a series of models of historical experience to be found in his later writings. (Benjamin did not intend his thesis “On the concept of history” to be published. In fact, he explicitly anticipated its miscomprehension.)

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History becomes the whole to which experience must be related if it is to become an experience of truth. It is at this point that the mystical motifs of Jewish Messianism reenter the picture, with their totalizing sense of redemption, not as an event within history, but of history, as a whole. In opposition to both the peremptory teleology of Hegelianism and the complacent chronologism of Ranke’s Historicism, Jewish Messianism offered Benjamin a structure of thought in which to think of history as a whole, while still maintaining the openness of the present to political action. The explosive tension of the later work, manifest most clearly in the famous thesis “On the concept of history” (Benjamin, 1940), is generated by the attempt to render such thought consistent with historical Materialism under rapidly degenerating political conditions. This project took the form of a critique of the concept of progress. It is this aspect of Benjamin’s work – a philosophy of history which is utopian and pessimistic in equal measure – which exerted most influence on the Frankfurt school. In Benjamin’s own case, it led to the redefinition of historiography from a type of science to a form of remembrance (Eingedenken), in active opposition to the “forgetting” taken to suffuse the historical time-consciousness of modernity. One-Way Street (1928), in which the new perspective emerges for the first time with all the force and excitement of “the new,” is one of the great works of the Weimar avant-garde. “Significant literary work,” it declares in the first of its series of fragments, “can only come into being in a strict alternation between writing and action; it must nurture the inconspicuous forms that better fit its influence in active communities than does the pretentious, universal gesture of the book – in leaflets, brochures, articles, and placards. Only this prompt language shows itself actively equal to the moment.” Benjamin’s production would henceforth be fagmentary and essayistic, not merely out of financial necessity, but also as a matter of joint aesthetic and political principle. In the slipstream of surrealism, Benjamin endowed what Ernst Bloch called his “feel for the peripheral” with the weightiest claims of the philosophical tradition. In the process, he produced some of the most powerful critical writing of the century. His

Benveniste, Emile

66 In the combination of a refusal to dismiss the commodity form as mere false consciousness with an interest in its character as representation and object of fantasy, Benjamin is taken by some to have anticipated the affirmative attitude towards commodification characteristic of Postmodernism. Yet it is important to distinguish Benjamin’s Marxist concept of phantasmagoria (the interpretation of the world of commodities as a dream-world), in principle, from such notions of Baudrillard’s as simulation and hyperreality, since Benjamin remained committed to a metaphysical conception of the objectivity of truth. Indeed, his entire oeuvre revolves around one. In this respect, he is better viewed as a baroque or even a gothic Marxist (Cohen, 1993) than any kind of postmodernist avant la lettre. See also Art; Marxism.

Reading Benjamin, Walter 1968: Illuminations. —— 1977: Understanding Brecht. —— 1979: One-Way Street and Other Writings. Buck-Morss, Susan 1989: Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project. Lunn, Eugene 1982: Marxism and Modernism: An Historical Study of Lukács, Brecht, Benjamin and Adorno. McCole, John 1993: Walter Benjamin and the Antinomies of Tradition. Scholem, Gershom 1975 (1982): Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship. Smith, Gary, ed. 1988: On Walter Benjamin: Critical Essays and Reflections. —— ed. 1989: Walter Benjamin: Philosophy, Aesthetics, History. Witte, Bernd 1985 (1991): Walter Benjamin: An Intellectual Biography. Wolin, Richard 1982: Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption.

peter osborne

Benveniste, Emile (1902–76) French linguist. Benveniste is best known for his creative combination of historical linguistics with Structuralism, which extended linguistics into Cultural theory. His best-known works are Problems of General Linguistics (1966) and IndoEuropean Language and Society (1969). One of his most influential arguments is his qualified disagreement with Ferdinand de Saussure’s principle that the nature of the linguistic Sign is

arbitrary. By focusing much of his attention on the speaker of language, Benveniste resisted the tendency in linguistics to treat language as simply a formal System. In this respect, his work had a significant impact on Julia Kristeva’s Semiotics and her efforts to close the gap between linguistics and Psychoanalysis.

Reading Benveniste, Emile 1966 (1971): Problems of General Linguistics. —— 1969 (1973): Indo-European Language and Society. Kristeva, Julia 1974a (1984): Revolution in Poetic Language.

michael payne

Bernstein, Leonard (1918–90) Musician, born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. One of the first US-born musicians to gain international esteem and reputation, essentially by means of his conducting. At the age of 40 he became the youngest music director hired by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Throughout his life he was guest conducter to the major orchestras of the world and recorded hundreds of performances, especially with the Vienna, Israel, and New York Philharmonics. His talents and creative endeavors were extensive in other areas as well, including the composition of symphonic music, Broadway musicals, ballets, songs, film and theatre scores. He made pioneering efforts in music education, much of which is found in his extremely popular and influential work in television (most notably his Omnibus programs and Young People’s Concerts). His influence on others was extensive and his lasting work ranged from composer and conductor to pianist and scholar. Bernstein’s philosophical and cultural reflections can be found in numerous lectures, essays, correspondences, and critical musical studies. (Some of these are in his popular texts: The Joy of Music, 1959; The Infinite Variety of Music, 1966, and Findings, 1982; while others, including many of his public lectures and television scripts and presentations, are only now being published and made readily available.) The principal text, however, that unifies and situates Bernstein’s work is his Harvard lectures of 1973, the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, entitled The Unanswered

67 requires a studied and holistic reading of The Unanswered Question to be truly appreciated. However, there is another way to come to recognize this perspective of Bernstein. The problem of how to speak to others about those things we have deeply studied and investigated continually concerned Bernstein. The Norton Lectures again and again ask: “Who is the audience?” “To whom am I speaking?” “How am I to make myself understood?” This concern was of immense importance when Bernstein thought about how to speak to “laymen,” to a nondiscipline-specific audience, about music. He had no tolerance for the “music appreciation racket” as he sometimes called it, but he was well aware that a technical, discipline-bound discussion would fall flat and be of little interest to all but a few. So how is one to speak to others (about this or anything else)? Bernstein believed that he could do so only by investigating himself: by uncovering those ingredients and characteristics of a musical subject, or a musical composition, which were exciting to him and spoke to him personally. Investigations of the self can give us something to say, for we find in ourselves a possible common bond with others. These revealed feelings and findings are then expressed, with the help of interdisciplinary methods and examples, in standard, ordinary language, in that everyday language we all share. Importantly, for Bernstein, investigations of the self allow us to ask the perfectly ordinary questions: “Don’t you feel as I feel?” “Don’t you find in yourself the same experiences I find?” (Such questions were asked again and again in Bernstein’s writings.) Our meaningful attempts to communicate with others must come from careful pursuits of self-knowledge expressed in the form of personal confession and feelings. (It is this devotion to study and expression of himself that made Bernstein’s attempt to communicate with others so successful, whether it be Young People’s Concerts, performances of Mahler, or investigations of negation and death in the Norton Lectures.) In his pursuit of himself Bernstein found others and his common bond with others. Bernstein found the question of the nature of music closely tied to the question of the nature of the twentieth century. Both face crises of being that, when investigated, shed light on the inevitable crisis of self. When examining the twentieth-century crisis in music, in the Norton

Bernstein, Leonard

Question (published in 1976). It is there that we find a direct and sustained attempt to understand the variety of questions and themes that pervaded Bernstein’s life in all of its forms, including the nature of music, the human craving for universality, the problem of negation, the challenge to the musical perspectives of Theodor Adorno, the introduction of interdisciplinary study to the intellectual and popular communities, and the value of personal exploration and expression of self. Standing behind everything scholarly Bernstein did is his devotion to and expression of interdisciplinary study. When discussing his student days at Harvard and specifically his philosophical studies, Bernstein says, “the principal thing I absorbed from Professor Prall [his philosophy professor], and from Harvard in general, was a sense of interdisciplinary value – that the best way to ‘know’ a thing is in the context of another discipline.” It is this epistemological interest in knowing one thing by means of the context of something else that guides and provides the method for much of Bernstein’s work. In his attempts to understand music, for example, he sets it side by side with disciplines and concerns such as linguistics (Chomsky), poetry (Eliot), physics (laws of sound), anthropological speculations about origins (Rousseau, Schopenhauer), and philosophy (Existentialism). His reason for such a method is a belief that it will lead not only to a better perspective on the nature of music or any discipline so investigated, but just as importantly to an improved understanding of the self, of the human creature who creates and lives such a disciplined existence. Interdisciplinary study is finally, for Bernstein, an expression of the self and being we all share; an investigation of that (nonprivate) being we have in common with others. This expression of a common being reflects Bernstein’s efforts to exhibit the human craving (his own craving) for universal grounding of our being. Interdisciplinary attempts at understanding music are exemplary of other attempts at finding the universal grounding and impulses of any inquiry, music being one example of an expression of common human beingness. For Bernstein, the pursuit of our personal feelings and the expressions, the deeply confessional expressions, of these feelings reveal our shared being, and universal connection, with others. This claim

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68 Lectures, one of Bernstein’s central antagonists is Theodor Adorno, specifically Adorno’s text, The Philosophy of Modern Music (1948). Bernstein’s discussion throughout these lectures can be usefully read, as aspiring to be read, as an antithesis to Adorno’s text. Many similar topics are discussed in the two: neoclassicism, music about music, the origins of tonality, subjectivity and objectivity, sincerity and inauthenticity. But whereas Adorno sees the crisis, represented in the compositions of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, in fairly stark terms, as a choice between good and evil, progress and stagnation, Bernstein sees both Stravinsky and Schoenberg searching for the same thing, just in different ways. They share the same motivation: increased expressive power. Bernstein believes the difficulties expressed in twentieth-century music are more complex than Adorno allows, and that Adorno simply misreads Stravinsky and lacks sufficient literary appreciation for what Stravinsky does. Irony, humor, literary indirections all escape the narrow and dogmatic approach taken by Adorno. In his Norton Lectures, Bernstein attempts to confront honestly and nondogmatically, in broad interdisciplinary ways, the disappointments, negations, and threats of nihilism that confront him in the century his life spans (the century of death, as he calls it). The self-confidence exhibited at the beginning of the twentieth century is shattered, and a crisis of self and questioning of one’s self follows. Bernstein tries to understand this crisis of self through questions about the nature of music, which as a discipline faces a similar crisis and search. Ultimately both face the reality of death. Nevertheless, even in the face of this great negation of being, humans still create and struggle to express themselves. For Bernstein, musical expression shows the human desire to affirm human life and creativity directly in the face of nihilism and death. What more positive expression of our common being can there be, asks Bernstein, than such an impulse? It is such extreme passion and existential affirmation that pervades Bernstein’s work and writing, and few have missed it. However, without an understanding of the scholarly work and methods that surround these characteristics we miss much of his real depth and value as a teacher, composer, and conductor.

Reading Bernstein, Leonard 1976: The Unanswered Question. Burton, Humphrey 1994: Leonard Bernstein. Ewen, David 1960: Leonard Bernstein. Gradenwitz, Peter 1987: Leonard Bernstein: The Infinite Variety of a Musician. Ledbetter, Steven, ed. 1988: Sennets and Tuckets: A Bernstein Celebration. Museum of Broadcasting, 1985: Leonard Bernstein: The Television Work.

richard fleming biblical studies One of the most important and most controversial developments in biblical studies during the past 20 years has been the influence of literary and Critical theory on the understanding of biblical Texts, the circumstances of their composition, and the history of their interpretation. Myth criticism, feminist theory, Semiotics, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Reader-response criticism have all been employed in readings of individual texts, as well as in an attempt to understand Hebrew Scripture, the New Testament, and the Old and New Testaments as a whole. Although Stephen D. Moore has demonstrated that “literary criticism has been a component of biblical criticism almost since its inception” (1989, p. xv), the dismissive phrase “the Bible as literature” has been often used defensively against biblical scholarship that draws on theories and practices of Literary criticism. This has only partly been the consequence of an opposition between secular literary scholars and practicing Jews and Christians. It has also been the result of a theoretical clash between formalist literary critics determined to find aesthetic unity in every text and textual scholars whose documentary hypothesis leads them to see the Bible as a mosaic of texts composed at different times but later edited into a not quite seamless whole (see Gros Louis, 1982, pp. 13– 34). Matthew Arnold set out the terms of this controversy in God and the Bible, when he wrote, “the language of the Bible is not scientific, but literary. That is, it is the language of poetry and emotion, approximate language thrown out, as it were, at certain great objects which the human mind augurs and feels after, and thrown out by men very liable, many of them to delusion and error” (1978, p. 228).

69 questions about the functional structure of narrative and to examine carefully the transaction between narrator and audience that produces the Bible’s strategic effects. The methods of the New criticism must, however, be supplemented by communication theory (or the rhetoric of fiction) and by Reader-response criticism to produce a method that begins to be adequate for biblical study. To offer a poetics of biblical narrative is to claim that biblical narrative is a work of literature. Not just an artful work; not a work marked by some aesthetic property; not a work resorting to so-called literary devices; not a work that the interpreter may choose (or refuse) to consider from a literary viewpoint . . . but a literary work. (Sternberg, 1985, p. 2)

Biblical scholars ignorant of the complexities of modern literary criticism misleadingly refer to “the literary approach,” as though literary studies were monolithic. Instead, Sternberg argues, the study of the Bible by those who see it as a literary work will necessarily generate a new poetics of literature as a whole, enlarging biblical and literary studies at the same time. In this respect, his argument converges with Frye’s. The essence of Sternberg’s thesis is that the ideological, historical, and aesthetic dimensions of the Bible invite a dynamic response from those who work carefully with the text, a response in which reading becomes a dramatic act. The “ideological imperative” of scripture, in his view, is the celebration of God’s mastery over creation, which takes the form of “the shift of ground from existence to epistemology” (p. 46). The crucial link between omniscient narrative form and theological content is that throughout the Bible God’s omniscience is displayed against the background of man’s limitations. Such a contrast between the divine and the human gives rise to the longing for a historical vision of sufficient power to place the facts of limited human experience within a panoramic, coherent context that can make the past retrospectively present in human consciousness. At the same time that the ideological dimension of the Bible gives rise to an aesthetic preference for omniscient narration consistent with the view of God’s mastery, its

biblical studies

Northrop Frye, while acknowledging openly his debt to Vico rather than perhaps a more profound one to Arnold, began a preliminary series of maps of the Bible’s literary landscape, extending through seven phases of revelation that link the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) with the New Testament. (Frye also had to work under the shadow of T.S. Eliot’s condemnation of the literary study of the Bible in his essay “Religion and literature:” “The fact that men of letters now discuss [the Bible] as ‘literature’ probably indicates the end of its ‘literary’ influence” (Eliot, 1960, p. 344)). In such books as Anatomy of Criticism (1957), Creation and Recreation (1980), and The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (1982), Frye provided the most comprehensive literary theoretical study of the Bible yet published. His discussion of typology within and between the Old and New Testaments is the key to Frye’s view of the Bible and the poetics of its historiography. Typological reading sees an earlier story (the typos) as completed by – and achieving its meaning from – a later one (the antitypos). Cain and Abel by Jacob and Esau, Moses by Jesus, Jesus by Paul. An inescapable consequence of typological reading, however, is the cultural appropriation of what comes early (in the text or in history) by what comes later. Thus, the New Testament could be typologically read as the definitive antitype to the Old, and Jewish culture as merely a prologue to Christianity. In The Poetics of Biblical Narrative (1985) Meir Sternberg does not condescend to mention Frye (perhaps as a consequence of Frye’s typologies) even in the context of his many arguments with other literary critics of the Bible. Sternberg’s ambitious book, which was the first volume in the Indiana Literary Biblical Series, uses modern literary criticism to illuminate the surface and the depths of biblical narrative, while it also turns scriptural texts back on literary criticism in an attempt to correct and augment the practices of literary theorists. Sternberg believes that, while literary critics can contribute significantly to biblical study, they also will receive from the Bible beneficial instruction in the techniques of narrative and the ways to interpret it. The Bible thus generates its own Narratology. Critics are more likely than other students of the Bible, Sternberg suggests, to pose fundamental

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70 historical dimension renders in realistic detail the intractable imperfection of human beings. Finally, the experience of reading the Bible casts “interpretation as an ordeal that enacts and distinguishes the human predicament” (p. 46) of limitation that reaches out to an infinite divinity, leading the reader to fresh or renewed understanding of divine and human creativity. Sternberg’s biblical criticism, much of it originally written in Hebrew, came to the attention of most Western readers through Robert Alter’s generous citations in The Art of Biblical Narrative (1981). The following pastiche of quotations from Alter indicates the similarity between his and Sternberg’s critical practices: It is important to move from the analysis of formal structures to a deeper understanding of the values, the moral vision embodied in a particular kind of narrative. . . . Meaning, perhaps for the first time in narrative literature, was conceived as a process, requiring continual revision – both in the ordinary sense and in the etymological sense of seeing-again – continual suspension of judgment, weighing of multiple possibilities, brooding over gaps in the information provided . . . The implicit theology of the Hebrew Bible dictates a complex moral and psychological realism in biblical narrative because God’s purposes are always entrammeled in history, dependent on the acts of individual men and women for their continuing realization . . . [There is in the Bible] a complete interfusion of literary art with theological, moral, or historiosophical vision, the fullest perception of the latter dependent on the fullest grasp of the former. (Alter, 1981, pp. x, 12, 19)

Alter’s book is still the best guide in English to the Hebrew Bible’s narrative strategies. In a subsequent volume, The Art of Biblical Poetry (1985), Alter supplies an equally comprehensive guide to the formal systems of biblical poetry. In the first three chapters of this book he explores the basic system of semantic parallelism in biblical poetry, which, unlike phonetic and syntactic elements, survives translation. Adopting Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s proposal that Poetry is distinguished from prose by readers who perceive “that a verbal sequence has a sustained rhythm, that it is formally structured according to a continuous operating principle of organiza-

tion,” Alter proceeds to show that what sets biblical poetry off from surrounding prose is “the strictly observed principle of parallelism” (Alter, 1985, p. 6). Biblical poetry relies on parallelism between two (or sometimes three) fractions of a line, called versets. Alter’s account of this technique can easily be summarized by applying it to the opening lines of five psalms selected almost at random: Ps. 46: God is our refuge and strength/ a very present help in trouble. Ps. 47: O clap your hands, all ye people:/ shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Ps. 49: Hear this, all ye people:/ give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world. Ps. 50: The mighty God even the Lord hath spoken./ and called the earth from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. Ps. 51: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness/ according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

There are essentially three kinds of parallelism in biblical poetry: parallelism of meaning (Pss 46 and 49); parallelism of stresses between the half-lines (Ps. 47): and syntactic parallelism – “the word order in each of the half-lines mirroring the other, with each corresponding term in the same syntactic position” (p. 7) – which often produces a chiastic structure (Ps. 51). Alter points out that modern scholarship has neglected J.G. Herder’s important observation of the late eighteenth century that biblical parallelism is rarely used for synonymity; rather, “the two [parallel] members strengthen, heighten, empower each other” (p. 11). The examples from the Psalms illustrate how these intensifying effects are achieved: by an impulse to intensification, with an implied “how much more so” in the second half-line (Ps. 49); by focusing, in a movement from the general to the specific (Ps. 46); by linguistic intensification, in a movement from standard to literary diction (Ps. 51); by a movement toward narrativity, from metaphor to story (Ps. 50); and by a


To translate meaning while ignoring the way that meaning has been articulated is not translation at all but merely replacement – murdering the original instead of recreating it. It is partly a matter of the creative inferiority of the modern translators; normally they are scholars and exegetes whose instincts are to replace the dangerous ambiguities of poetry with the safer specificities of prose. They do not see that the life of anything written lies in the words and syntax. While the Renaissance Bible translator saw half of his task as reshaping English so that it could adapt itself to Hebraic idiom, the modern translator wants to make no demands on the language he translates into. (Hammond, 1983, p. 2)

Hammond gives his highest praise to William Tyndale’s translations, which, despite the adverse conditions which then prevailed, achieve simplicity, flexibility, and surprising literalness, combined with “a fine capacity to tap the emotional resources of his original” (p. 43). The New English Bible, despite its translators’ scholarly advantages over Tyndale, is the antithesis to the Authorized Version and “has, in effect, unmade [an English] Bible which took ninety years to make, and which held the imaginations and emotions of its readers for three hundred and fifty years” (p. 13). One might also add that many lives were sacrificed, including Tyndale’s, for the Authorized Version. In contrast to the negative example of the New English Bible, several features of Renaissance

translations – especially the Authorized Version – stand out clearly. The early translators sought to preserve some of the alien features of the original instead of statically translating word for word or idiom for idiom. They celebrated and incorporated the difference of their primary text. The Renaissance versions accordingly reshaped English idiom to adapt it to the Hebrew original, they preserved poetic ambiguities, rather than reshaping them into prose, they maintained the word order of the original and often translated idioms literally, rather than searching for appropriate idiomatic English equivalents; with relative consistency they retained the same English word for the Hebrew, allowing for important comparisons between passages in different parts of the Bible; they recognized that the most literal rendering is often the most powerful (as in the construct form “to eat the bread of sorrows” noun + “of” + noun); and they relied on the imaginative and interpretive skills of readers (see Renaissance studies). For his translation of the Old Testament, Tyndale worked from the Masoretic text that was first printed in 1488. Unlike modern translators who are aware of variants and emendations in the Hebrew, Tyndale saw his source as an immutable original. Because of this view, Tyndale was concerned to achieve fullness of translation, neither taking anything away nor adding anything to the original as he saw it, while at the same time conveying some of the nuances of Hebrew style. One of the most important of these stylistic features is a lack of variation in word order, which results from the ubiquitous use of waw (a coordinating suffix in biblical Hebrew) that produces predominately coordinating rather than subordinating clauses. This practice creates the effect of neutral narrative development (despite omniscient narration) in which events seem simply to unfold. This coordinated style is commonly associated with the unsophisticated and fluent ways children tell stories, reducing or conflating any separate sense of cause and consequence into simultaneity. Fidelity to this feature of biblical Hebrew runs counter to the highly interpretative and complex practices in the prose of Erasmus, More, Lyly, and Sidney. (Although Hammond does not dwell on this, coordinated prose style reinforces also the practice of poetic parallelism in the Bible.)

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movement toward the extreme, or hyperbole (Ps. 47). Although he does not dwell on this point, Alter implies that the reliance of biblical Hebrew poetry on parallelism greatly contributed to the cultural transmission of the Bible in translation. Gerald Hammond’s The Making of the English Bible (1983) is a detailed examination of the evolution of the Bible in English during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which culminated in the appearance of the Authorized (or King James) Version of 1611. By carefully comparing Renaissance and modern readings with the Hebrew and Greek texts, Hammond concludes that the practice and achievement of the earlier translators is in most ways preferable to the methods of subsequent modern scholarly translators of the Bible in English:

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72 Because Old Testament Hebrew is a highly inflected language, it often uses separate pronouns for emphasis: “She, even she herself said, He is my brother.” Such repetition for emphasis is a distinguishing feature of Tyndale’s translation, even though he strikes a balance between stylistic variation and repetition. For example, the Hebrew text often matches a verb with its most directly derived noun: “God plagued Pharaoh . . . with great plagues.” In reproducing these stylistic details, Tyndale displays his most distinctive quality, which Hammond describes as “his matching of simple and direct English to a care for the essential meaning of the original text” (p. 38). Tyndale was generally correct in his view that English is better suited than Latin as a language for translating Hebrew. Furthermore, two major syntactic differences between English and Hebrew are resolved by his translation: in Hebrew the verb normally precedes the subject (“. . . and said Moses”) and the adjective often follows the noun (“cities great and walled up to heaven”). Later sixteenth-century translators followed Tyndale in modifying the usual English syntax to retain the Hebrew word order. This balance between literalness and flexibility, Hammond observes, appears also in the fluidity of Tyndale’s narrative style. The practice of separating the text into verses began with the Geneva Bible. As useful as that practice has become for purposes of reference, Tyndale appears to have thought beyond separate verses and thus more fluidly in paragraphs (now a rare feature in modern Bibles). To illustrate this point, Hammond offers the telling example of Tyndale’s translation of Num. 14:22–5, where God explains why the Children of Israel will not see the promised land. Whereas the Authorized Version breaks up the narrative into sentences that closely correspond to the verse units, Tyndale turns three and a half verses into a controlled sentence of more than a hundred words, while retaining the Hebrew word order: For all of those men which have seen my glory and my miracles which I did in Egypt and in the Wilderness, and you have tempted me now this ten times, and have not harkened unto my voice, there shall not one see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that railed upon me see it: but my servant Caleb, because there is another manner [of ]

spirit with him, and because he hath followed me unto the utmost, him will I bring into the land which he that waled in, and his seed shall conquer it, and also the Amalachites and Canaanites which dwell in the low countries.

Such a capacity to render biblical narrative, Hammond observes, had a major positive impact on the development of English prose, even though it soon began to lose ground first to the Authorized and then to later versions. Because of Tyndale’s imprisonment and execution, the English Reformation Bible was completed by Miles Coverdale, whose ignorance of Hebrew and Greek forced him to rely on his aesthetic judgment in choosing among translations. Tyndale had completed the Pentateuch, Jonah, the Old Testament historical books, and the New Testament, leaving most of the poetic books untranslated. These books, especially the Psalms, are Coverdale’s great legacy. Coverdale’s grasp of the essence of Hebrew poetry was intuitive but remarkably accurate, given his ignorance of Hebrew scholarship. His translations evolve toward a rendering of the parallel structure of Hebrew poetry, including such fine details as chiastic word order. Coverdale’s 1535 Bible was the first complete Bible printed in English, and his 1539 Great Bible became the first authorized version. In making his 1539 revisions, he had access to the more scholarly Continental versions, which enabled him to bring his word order closer to the Hebrew and to make his word choices more exact. Despite the appearance of other English Bibles after the two Coverdale Bibles, the translations of Tyndale, Coverdale, and the Geneva Bible became the chief influences on the Authorized Version. The major achievement of Hammond’s book is that it tells the story of the English Bible’s evolution from the inside out, comparing words and syntax of several versions with the original in order to show what the Bible is and why the legacy of Tyndale is so rich. However, in all of his attention to detail, Hammond wisely allows the versions he analyzes to make their own subtle case against contemporary claims of literalism and fundamentalism that are so adamantly opposed to modern biblical scholarship. “For is the Kingdome of God become words or syllables?” the Authorized Version’s translators ask rhetorically


The day consists of twelve hours: during the first three hours the Holy One, blessed be He, is occupying Himself with the Torah; during the second three He sits in judgment on the whole world, and when He sees that the World is so guilty as to deserve destruction, he transfers Himself from the seat of Justice to the seat of Mercy; during the third quarter, He is feeding the whole world, from the horned buffalo to the brood of vermin; during the fourth quarter He is sporting with the leviathan. (Abodah Zarah, p. 36)

Finally, Rabbi Nahman b. Isaac concludes the discussion by pointing out that God sports with His creatures and does not laugh at them except on the day mentioned in the psalm. This passage in its own way suggests many of the topics explored in Midrash and Literature, edited by Geoffrey Hartman and Sanford Budick (1986). God is a close reader even of his own text

and gives first priority each day to poring over it. There is humor and joy in His activities, just as there is in the rabbis’ reading of the psalm. Then, as they interpret the psalm, the rabbis produce a kind of discourse that is the very essence of midrash in that their interpretation of an earlier text becomes embodied in a narrative within a new text, thus distinguishing midrash from typology. As David Stern puts it, “Midrash . . . touches upon literature not at the point where literature becomes exegesis but at what might be called its opposite conjunction, where exegesis turns into literature and comes to possess its own language and voice” (Hartman and Budick, 1986, p. 105). In this volume and in The Genesis of Secrecy (1979), The Art of Telling (1983), and in his contributions to The Literary Guide to the Bible (Alter and Kermode, 1987), Frank Kermode takes up one of the most perplexing questions concerning the Bible: Can we say anything we like about a text, or are there institutional controls on interpretation? This question poses an antithesis between midrash and peshat, or the plain sense of things. Taking his cue from Wallace Stevens’s “The snow man,” Kermode argues that the antithesis may be insubstantial, that the longing for the plain sense can never be satisfied, that “the plain sense depends . . . on imaginative activity of interpreters” (Hartman and Budick, p. 191). Finally, it is not the text but the institution of which he is a part that limits the interpreter’s freedom. In this respect Christian interpreters have enjoyed less hermeneutical freedom than Jewish interpreters, for the Church “in some ways stood to the New Testament as the New Testament did to the Old” (p. 187). Even in our own time, Kermode argues, Protestant hermeneutics has insisted upon the necessity of understanding tradition as formative of the horizon from which we must seek some kind of encounter with ancient texts (188). (In “New Ways with Bible Stories” (Kermode, 1990, pp. 29–48) Kermode provides the best brief account available of recent biblical scholarship inspired by literary criticism and narrative theory.) Of the several feminist critics who have set out to challenge the traditional institutional restraints on interpretation, which they see as essentially patriarchal, Mieke Bal’s Lethal Love: Feminist Literary Readings of Biblical Love Stories (1987) and Alicia Ostriker’s Feminist Revision and the Bible

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in their Preface, as though anticipating twentiethcentury biblical conservatism. Relying on the finest classical scholarship of their time and inspired by a loyalty to the Hebrew and Greek texts, while still retaining a respect for the achievements of their inspired predecessors, the 1611 translators achieved perhaps the finest thing ever produced by a committee. In its retention of parallelism and coordination, its treatment of the infinitive, its reproduction of a consecutive narrative syntax, and its use of the English equivalent of the construct form, the Authorized Version established an English biblical style that has had a powerful hold over English prose until modern times. In an effort to recover the intersection of biblical narrative art with processes of its interpretation, several scholars have recently conducted investigations of the hermeneutical technique that incorporates interpretation into the retelling of the story that it sets out to explain. A rough approximation of the midrashic tradition can be captured from this delightful passage in the Talmud in which some rabbis are discussing the fourth verse of Psalm 2: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.” Rabbi Isaac’s somber reflection that God laughs only on that day described apocalyptically in the psalm prompts a discussion that includes Rabbi Judah’s account of how God spends each day:

binary opposition

74 (1993) are among the most provocative. Ostriker puts her version of the challenge to traditional interpretation succinctly: “The biblical story of monotheism and covenant is, to use the language of politics, a cover-up; . . . when we lift the cover we find quite another story, an obsessively told and retold story of erased female power” (p. 30). A neglected text for the case that female power is most often erased when the Bible is read is the stunning example of Proverbs 8, in which an explicitly female wisdom announces that she was present with God at the beginning of creation, that even before the world was she was there, that those who ignore (or hate) her wisdom love only death. But here of course, as Sternberg observed, the Bible provides its own challenge to later interpretation. Proverbs 8 is a self-contained, chapter-length monologue, which awaits any reader who finds his or her way through the polyvocal texts of the Pentateuch, the histories, and the prophets to the longpreserved, deeply challenging wisdom literature. The Bible now seems a collection of texts determined to undermine each of its many affirmations; its declaration of the prerogatives of the first-born son inevitably give way to the younger child of love; its marginalization of women is most often undercut by their greater intelligence and subtler power; the high claims of the law and tradition are subverted long before the first book of the New Testament is written; but even with the coming of the new covenant, the authority of Hebrew scripture in its multiple and always uncertain interpretations never subsides.

Reading Alter, Robert 1981: The Art of Biblical Narrative. —— 1985: The Art of Biblical Poetry. —— and Kermode, Frank, eds 1987: The Literary Guide to the Bible. Arnold, Matthew 1978: God and the Bible. Bal, Mieke 1987: Lethal Love: Feminist Literary Readings of Biblical Love Stories. Eliot, T.S. 1960: “Religion and literature.” Frye, Northrop 1957: Anatomy of Criticism. —— 1980: Creation and Recreation. —— 1982: The Great Code: The Bible and Literature. Gros Louis, Kenneth R.R., ed. 1974, 1982: Literary Interpretations of Biblical Narratives. 2 vols. Hammond, Gerald 1983: The Making of the English Bible. Hartman, Geoffrey, and Budick, Sanford, eds 1986: Midrash and Literature.

Kermode, Frank 1979: The Genesis of Secrecy. —— 1983: The Art of Telling. —— 1990b: “New ways with Bible stories.” Moore, Stephen D. Literary Criticism and the Gospels: The Theoretical Challenge. Ostriker, Alicia 1993: Feminist Revision and the Bible. Sternberg, Meir 1985: The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading.

michael payne binary opposition A relationship of opposition and mutual exclusion between two elements: a crucial term in the theories of Structuralism. Examples of such oppositions would be masculine/ feminine, cold/heat, or up/down. The phrase appears in the work of the French structural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss on myths, particularly those of the indigenous American tribes. He analyzes their legends as embodying major oppositions between mythical archetypes of certain animals, such as the Frog and the Snake. Each animal has certain associations, and the relations between these associations are analyzed according to the relations between the mythic figures which epitomize them. In effect every mythic creature stands for certain meanings. From this maneuver is extracted a general rule: a pair of antagonists is the fundamental element of all mythic narratives, When one element of the relation is present, so too, and necessarily, is the other by means of an operation of difference predicated upon direct opposition. Binary oppositions occur in all myths and so can be seen to be the universal factor in the production of stories. Lévi-Strauss asks why this should be so, and his answer is that these binary oppositions so produced are the symptoms in myth of the way the human mind works, the way in which language and thought operate. Many structuralist theorists take this position as a starting point, especially those concerned with Narratology. Developing a theory of the operation of narrative from the work on myths, narratologists such as A.J. Greimas in his earlier work take binary oppositions as the basis for their attempts to theorize the fundamental structure of all narrative (for an example, see Actant). Others, for example, Roman Jakobson, find the concept useful in that it underpins other, more complex relationships, since it is assumed to be a structure which is inherent in language

75 haunted by white, its supplement. Meaning is not simple. This analytical operation is the maneuver which is characteristic of Deconstruction. It is this procedure underpinning Derrida’s destabilization of the Western metaphysical tradition, which he notes as depending on binary oppositions such as writing/speech and absence/presence. Avowedly materialist critics have also utilized the concept of the binary opposition as a useful point at which to interrogate structuralist practice. For example, in Literary Theory: An Introduction (1985) the English theorist and critic Terry Eagleton produces just such a reading. He begins by noting that for structuralists cultural forms may change, but the universal oppositions uncovered by Lévi-Strauss remain. There is a kind of deeper reality underpinning the ephemeral changes which take place in the realm of the social, and this reality is palpably unchanging, eternal, rooted perhaps in the very biological structure of the human being. Eagleton criticizes this universal structure as utterly ahistorical, leading on to his more general observations about the structuralist model itself. He problematizes the separation performed in structuralist theory between the deeper reality of the structure on the one hand and the movement of contingency on the other, and in effect he categorizes the structuralist method as ideological. To separate a deeper universal meaning from the play of history and language is to replicate the Arnoldian maneuver which removes Culture from politics. However, both deconstructionist and materialist critics acknowledge their own debts to the theorizing of binary oppositions made by structuralists, as a position from which to begin their own analyses. The “deconstruction” of these oppositions produced a decentering of presence and a reconstruction of the importance of the written sign. This operation has resulted in the emergence of Poststructuralism.

Reading Culler, Jonathan 1975 (1989): Structuralist Poetics. Derrida, Jacques 1967 (1976): Of Grammatology. Eagleton, Terry 1983 (1985): Literary Theory: An Introduction. Householder, Fred 1971: Linguistic Speculations. Lévi-Strauss, Claude 1971 (1981): The Naked Man.

paul innes

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itself. Structuralists such as Householder, who are uncomfortable with an assumption that binary oppositions are universal, still utilize the concept because of its methodological rigor. The one element which all of these different uses of the concept have in common is its helpfulness in the operation of classification. Structuralist literary critics interpret Texts in terms of Codes which are composed of multiple binary oppositions, classifying the meanings they produce. It is this reading practice which is assumed to be, ultimately and universally, the way that meaning is produced, as the text weaves its way among sets of binary oppositions. Meaning is oppositional, but this opposition is stable, with the proviso that the only legitimate meanings are those which are constructed in terms of such oppositions. The importance of binary oppositions as a crucial part of structuralist practice has led to a problematizing of the concept by critiques of the methods of Structuralism as a whole. This is one of the concerns of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida in Of Grammatology (1976). He analyzes binary oppositions by means of a detailed investigation of the relations between the two supposedly opposed terms of the Structure. His procedure is to begin from the logic of Saussure’s structural linguistics, in which the lexical item (the Sign) has meaning only by virtue of its difference from other pieces of vocabulary. Language is structured as a differential System. The meaning of the sign therefore depends on what it is not, in other words precisely what it excludes. This insight is then applied to the structure of binary oppositions themselves, so that the logic of the mutual exclusion of the two terms is seen to be dependent on the differential structure. Derrida questions the rigor of this structure by suggesting that in fact each term of an opposition depends for its exclusivity upon the success of the operation which places the two terms in contradiction. He destabilizes this operation of simple binarism by showing that such terms can be analyzed as each containing elements of the other. For example, using this technique, it could be argued that the opposition between black and white is not so simple as structuralists would propose. Black is black by virtue of its not being white, in a relation of difference. But since it is precisely this difference which defines black, rather than its own blackness, it is forever

biology, philosophy of

76 biology, philosophy of The branch of philosophy that is devoted to the study of biology. As a subset of Philosophy of science, philosophy of biology restricts its focus mainly to biology, although other sciences such as physics and chemistry are also important. Essentially, biology is the study of life, and it is often to biology that we turn when we have questions not just about life in general, but about human nature. Although biology is mainly comprised of facts, “biology’s exciting conclusions do not follow from the facts alone” (Sterelny and Griffiths, 1999, p. 5). Claims in biology often leave the realm of data analysis and enter the realm of self-reflection and speculation, and for this reason, one might argue, philosophy has a clear place in biology. For simplicity’s sake, one might say there are three general types of questions in philosophy of biology. The first contains questions in philosophy of science that have been narrowed to the subject of biology. For example, general epistemological questions about explanation in science or the status of laws in science are narrowed to questions about explanation in biology and the status of laws in biology. The second type of question contains problems in biology that biology has been unable to answer. An example here would be any question in theoretical biology, such as whether organisms have become more complex over time. A third type of question takes traditionally philosophical questions and applies biology to them in an attempt to make some philosophical progress. For example, one might look towards biology to understand the development of morality based on our social instincts. With respect to philosophy, the first set of questions can be construed as mainly philosophy of science and the third set as purely philosophical. However, the second set of questions is solely philosophy of biology. Most of the questions I pose in this article are of this second kind. Biology is a vast area of research that includes many disciplines and subfields that are constantly expanding and diverging. Philosophy of biology recognizes this and attempts to deal with all of biology, from genetics to paleontology to biotechnology. The biological and philosophical questions raised among each discipline are of course quite diverse, but a few of the most rele-

vant and philosophically interesting can serve as an introduction to this diverse field. Genetics Genetics studies inheritance, or rather the heredity unit, the gene. Although one might argue that philosophy of biology started with the publication of David Hull’s Philosophy of Biological Science (1974), it wasn’t until Richard Dawkins’s book The Selfish Gene was published in 1976 that questions in philosophy of biology became prominent. Dawkins’s basic argument is that in evolutionary theory one should not focus on natural selection acting on organisms (as Darwin did in The Origin of Species), but rather one should concentrate on genes. To appreciate Dawkins’s point, we must first understand Darwin’s perspective on natural selection at the organismic level. Darwin gave three conditions for evolution by natural selection: variation, heredity, and differential reproduction. The first is self-explanatory, the second concerns some kind of replication or way for information to pass from one generation to the next, and the third says that entities reproduce at different rates. For Darwin, organisms met these three conditions; for example, ants vary, they have a hereditary mechanism (although Darwin did not know what it was), and some ants will reproduce better than other ants. For Dawkins however, it is the gene that best fits these conditions; genes vary, they are a hereditary mechanism, and some genes do better getting into the next generation than others. The Selfish Gene argues that genes are the replicators “striving” to get into the next generation, and they “use” organisms merely as their vehicles. So it is the “selfish” genes that are running the show, and we are merely their disposable transport. This of course raises many questions, the most basic being, what is a gene (e.g. Beurton et al., 2000) and do genes actually carry information? Although somewhat simplistic, these are questions that still plague philosophers and biologists today, and surprisingly there is much disagreement among the literature. Some more questions created by Dawkins include: How much are we “hardwired” by our genes, and do we have “genes for” certain behavioral characteristics? Is the genetic level somehow unique and more important than other levels, such as the organismic or molecular level? And is the


Molecular Biology Molecular biology studies the interactions between molecules. Questions in philosophy of biology that concern molecular biology are often very similar to those concerning genetics. For instance, with respect to the genetic level, a good question is whether or not most biological explanation can occur at this level. With respect to molecular biology, one can ask if it is not really the genes but the molecules that give complete explanation. As an example, take the Mendelian concept of a gene: it is a functional unit used in population biology, evolutionary theory, etc., that allows biologists to track heredity among populations. For molecular biology, however, a gene is a string of nucleic acids that codes for proteins. For someone who wants to reduce biological explanation to the molecular level, there is the question of how we reconcile the Mendelian gene with the molecular gene – is it even possible? Alex Rosenberg (2006) argues that reducing all biology, such as Mendel’s theory, to molecular biology is ideal, and that the only reason we really have genetics and especially higher-level biology, such as population biology, macroevolution, etc., is because of our epistemic limitations. If we could understand everything at the molecular level, Rosenberg argues that we could understand and predict all biological and scientific phenomena. Philosophical questions

that arise from molecular biology quite often hinge on whether or not biology is reducible. Evolutionary Biology Evolutionary biology is a broad discipline concerned with questions about the origin and descent of species and their modification over time, i.e. their evolution. Neo-Darwinism refers, in its broad usage, to the current biological paradigm where evolutionary theory permeates all biological research. Evolutionary biology as an academic discipline began as a result of the modern synthesis around the 1930s and 1940s. It is one of the largest areas to attract philosophers of biology because it contains much theoretical biology found in subfields such as paleobiology, macroevolution, phylogenetics, etc. I will describe a few of the more interesting questions for philosophers of biology that arise in evolutionary biology. 1. What is a species? Just like asking what is a gene, asking what is a species seems like a very simple question, but the literature is full of disagreement. First of all one could be an essentialist and argue that a species has an essence that defines it. This idea can be traced back to platonic forms and Plato’s idea that nature is “carved at its joints” (Phaedrus 265d–266a). However, because evolution is based on change, one might argue that species are never static enough to have true and stable essences. It is also a problem because defining when speciation has created a new species as opposed to slightly changing an already defined species is a problem. A second answer is that a “species is a series of ancestor descendent populations passing through time and space independent of other populations, each of which possesses its own evolutionary tendencies and historical fate” (George Gaylord Simpson, 1951). This is known as the evolutionary species concept, not to be confused with another answer to the question, the biological species concept, where species are defined as interbreeding concepts. This last idea is probably the most widely accepted, although it is still a question among the philosophy of biology literature whether or not a species has unchanging essential characteristics. 2. How deterministic is evolution? The topic of how much chance or determinism there is in evolution can be approached from a micro- or macro-evolutionary level. With respect to the latter, Steven J. Gould famously asked (1989): if

biology, philosophy of

best explanation for biological phenomena found at the genetic level? Dawkins’s ideas were and are very controversial. One reason is because “the selfish gene” can also be read as “the altruistic human,” since a human who acts altruistically is only that way because of his or her selfish genes. As Dawkins argues, often the best way for genes to get to the next generation is if they help other copies of their genes found in relatives. This is known as kin selection. Another way to explain the altruistic “vehicle” is that an altruistic organism is more likely to find a mate, be helped out of dangerous situations, etc., which gives a gene a better possibility of surviving to the next generation. Many criticisms of Dawkins focus on his parsimony and level monism, because he only focuses on the genetic level; biology is a complex discipline that many argue cannot be reduced and simplified to one level of explanation like the story in The Selfish Gene.

biology, philosophy of

78 we reran the “tape of life” starting from the Cambrian Explosion, would we get the same outcome? The Cambrian Explosion occurred around 570–530 million years ago and marks an “explosion” of diversity among living things, with the appearance of the lineages of almost all living animals today. Interestingly enough, most of that diversity went extinct. Gould is asking: if we reran the tape of life and allowed the Cambrian Explosion to take place again, would the same organisms survive? Would humans still exist, would mammals, would vertebrates? This question ultimately hinges on how much determinism or chance there is in evolution. After the Cambrian Explosion, Gould argues that the organisms that survived did so mainly by chance and that if we reran the tape of life the “coin flip” might go in the other direction and humans would not have evolved. This means that human existence is accidental, a rather disconcerting and controversial idea. With respect to micro-evolution, one might ask whether more change in a population occurs from genetic drift or natural selection. For example, when we look at butterfly spots that have changed from one generation to the next, this could be an adaptation, or simply the result of a random genetic mutation. Although there may be ways to try to test whether these butterfly spots are an adaptation, in general there is no empirical way as of yet to test how much change in a population is due to natural selection as opposed to drift. Hence there is no way to tell how much chance there is at the micro-evolutionary level. So there is still a theoretical debate as to the role of natural selection and chance (drift) in evolutionary change. 3. How important is adaptation? Along the same lines as arguing about the importance of natural selection, we can argue about the importance of adaptation. Traits are adaptive if they are selected for and increase the fitness of an organism in a certain environment; for example, plants may develop toxicity because they are in an environment where their leaves are being eaten by insects. As already discussed, besides adaptation, some traits might come about by random mutation, and other traits might come about as “by-products” or “spandrels.” During one of the most heated debates in philosophy of biology, Steven J. Gould and Richard C. Lewontin (1979) argued against panadaptationism and

the “Panglossian Paradigm.” Panadaptationism, or simply adaptationism, is the idea that every trait contributes to the fitness of an organism and hence is adaptive. The Panglossian Paradigm refers to Voltaire’s Dr Pangloss, who said that everything happened for a reason, such as the bridge of our nose for holding spectacles, because we live in the best of all possible worlds. Gould and Lewontin claim that panadaptationists argue the same thing. For example, they argue that traits such as our ear lobes are adapted for holding earrings (or more realistically for sexual selection), when really ear lobes were not selected for at all, they are just by-products, or “spandrels,” from the way our ears form. Another example would be the human chin. It is most likely that the chin was not necessarily selected for, but just a by-product of the constraints produced by human facial structure; thus the chin itself is a somewhat arbitrary trait. The problem, as Gould and Lewontin see it, is that evolutionary biologists often tend to try to explain all traits in all organisms as somehow adaptive, and end up telling “just-so stories” with no real scientific basis (Gould and Lewontin, 1979). 4. Is there progress in evolution? Another important topic in evolutionary biology pertains to evolutionary progress. If we compare bacteria to humans, for instance, can we say there has been some progress? This is a tricky question because in evolutionary terms an organism is successful if it survives and reproduces, and cyanobacteria have been around for about 3.5 billion years; humans on the other hand have only been around for about 200,000 years. However, one might argue that our intelligence seems to show that humans have progressed beyond cyanobacteria. But again, this is tricky, because progress is a subjective and value-laden term, and biology is based on facts. One would not want to fall prey to Hume’s is-ought problem. It seems that whenever progress is discussed in evolution it ultimately leads to the conclusion that humans are the pinnacle of progress and whatever characteristics we have are the best and most progressive. To avoid this anthropocentrism, instead of progress one can discuss trends in evolution. There are trends in body size, tool-use, number of parts, and so on. This probably isn’t satisfying for someone trying to prove the remarkableness of humans, but it is better science.

79 because a learned fear would often mean a snake bite and then death before reproduction, so those humans with a fear “module,” as Öhman and Mineka say, would have higher fitness. However, you could imagine a case where someone with a snake fear module grew up in a household of snakes, thus overcoming this fear. Or imagine someone without the snake fear having a traumatic experience with a snake, thus causing a learned fear. This is just one of the ways to approach the question of whether or not cultural behaviors are learned or hardwired. 3. What is culture and how does it evolve? It is hard to find a general definition of culture, because culture in many ways seems best defined by examples. Yet for anthropologists, physiologists, etc., it is important to have a general, practical, and working definition. I give three possible ways to approach understanding culture. First of all, a philosopher of biology most likely wants to define culture in terms of Darwinian natural selection. However, this broaches questions like number 2 above about whether or not our behavior is hardwired by genes. This was the view of E.O. Wilson in Sociobiology: The New Synthesis and was one of the most despised theories among philosophers and biologists alike. Wilson argued that much of our culture and social behavior is evolutionarily based, meaning in our genes. Much of his book was uncontroversial, but near the end he suggested that human behaviors such as racism, rape, and homosexuality might be hardwired; he even suggested that some humans might have a predisposition to certain social classes. The problem was, and is, that humans aren’t as easy to study as ants, Wilson’s other specialty. Humans have a longer generational time, they have much more variety in environments, their actions are more plastic because of consciousness and rational decision, and therefore generalizations about human action are not easily justified. By making general statements about human behavior one can fall prey to genetic determinism – again, not an appealing conclusion. However, this does not mean that evolution is not helpful when looking at human culture: sociobiology has just taught us to be careful with our speculations, because human behaviors are not as easily understood as ant behaviors. A second way to define culture is through Dawkins’s use of “memes.” Dawkins introduced

biology, philosophy of

Human Biology Probably the most far reaching of the different areas, human biology discusses human nature by touching upon Cultural anthropology, cultural evolution, biological anthropology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and many other disciplines. I will discuss three of the questions most interesting in human biology for a philosopher of biology. 1. Is there an essential human nature? One way to approach this question is to look at the genetic code and the similarities in the genetic code among all humans. However, our DNA is 96–98 percent similar to chimpanzee DNA, so general similarity may not be the answer. If we knew more about specific genes then perhaps certain genes unique to humans could be part of an essential human nature (e.g. a gene for language), but science is far from understanding genes and their functions. Besides this empirical way to test for an essential human nature, there is the theoretical question of whether or not it can even exist. If Homo sapiens is a species like any other that changes and evolves over time, then a stable essence seems impossible. Yet there is still something intriguing about finding out what makes humans human. Another possibility is to look at what is unique to humans, such as language, abstract thought, symbolic behavior, and so on; however, recent experiments done with chimpanzees seem to show that all these behaviors are a difference in degree and not kind. Chimps can perform primitive sign language, they show some symbolic behavior, etc. So either we redefine the “traits” that are uniquely human, or we recognize that humans possess a great similarity with other animals. 2. Are some of our cultural behaviors “hardwired”? In many ways one could interpret this as a modern day nature versus nurture debate. However, this distinction is problematic because it presupposes mutual exclusivity. It is more useful to ask if our behaviors are hardwired, and if so, how rigidly. Even if a behavior is hardwired, this only means that one has a propensity to follow it, and without the right circumstances a hardwired behavior may not come to fruition. For instance, it has been shown that many humans are hardwired to be afraid of snakes (Öhman and Mineka, 2001) because snakes were potentially deadly threats to our ancestors. For our ancestors, a hardwired fear of snakes was important

black aesthetic

80 the idea of memes at the end of The Selfish Gene and compared a meme in culture to a gene in an organism. Just like genes, memes replicate and carry information. A meme can be a catchy tune, a way of dressing, a certain phrase, a moral norm, a dance step, an action such as smoking, and so on. As Dawkins says, it is “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation” (1976). However, memes are not controlled by genes but are just their own products that have their own “agenda” to reproduce. According to memetics a type of Darwinian selection does control culture, but it is independent from natural selection at the genetic level. A third way to define culture is to take this theory of memetics and deepen it by introducing a relationship between genes and memes. This theory is called gene/culture dual evolutionary theory or dual inheritance theory. In this theory genes and cultural variants (what gene/culture dual evolutionists call memes) evolve simultaneously. For example, the gene for lactose tolerance was recently found to have coevolved with the spread of dairy farming, which started around 9,000 years ago in Europe (see Laland and Brown, 2002). When humans started dairy farming, this cultural trait created a selection pressure for an allele for lactose tolerance. This allele arose as a random mutation, but because of the cultural environment, became a fitnessenhancing trait. So the gene/culture dual evolutionary theorists disagree with the memeticists by arguing that culture is not completely independent from our genes and our biology. However, unlike the sociobiologists, they give examples like diary farming where the culture comes first, and then the genetics coevolve. Although none of these approaches give a definite definition to culture, they do show how the term is used in contemporary research. Conclusion The philosopher of biology Robert Brandon said that in the late 1970s he knew of only five other philosophers of biology (1996, pp. xii–xiii). Since that time the field has grown considerably. It is an exciting branch of philosophy with a rich and diverse set of issues whose reflections change as biological theories change. Not only does philosophy of biology theorize about the latest biological findings, it also exam-

ines problems that have plagued philosophy for centuries and renders them in a new light, with new possibilities of understanding and discovery.

Reading Beurton, P.J., Falk, R. and Rheinberger, H. 2000: The Concept of the Gene in Development and Evolution: Historical and Epistemological Perspectives. Brandon, R.N. 1996: Concepts and Methods in Evolutionary Biology. Dawkins, R. 1976: The Selfish Gene. Gould, S.J. 1989: Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. —— 2002: The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. —— and Lewontin, R.C. 1979: “The spandrels of San Marco and the panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist programme.” Hull, D.L. 1974: Philosophy of Biological Science. Laland, K.N. and Brown, G.R. 2002: Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour. Öhman, A. and Mineka, S. 2001: “Fears, Phobias, and Preparedness: Toward an Evolved Module of Fear and Fear Learning.” Rosenberg, A. 2006: Darwinian Reductionism, or, How to Stop Worrying and Love Molecular Biology. Rosenberg, A. and McShea, D.W. 2008: Philosophy of Biology: A Contemporary Introduction. Simpson, G.G. 1951: “The Species Concept.” Sterelny, K. and Griffiths, P.E. 1999: Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology. Wilson, E.O. 1975: Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.

leonore fleming

black aesthetic The aesthetic program propagated by practitioners of the Black arts movement during the 1960s. Committed to a radical revaluation of Western aesthetic ideology, black aesthetic theorists claimed to derive their conception of black art from traditional African aesthetics. Against the Western notion of great art as a category that transcends Ideology, the black aesthetic stridently declared its political intention of furthering the aims of black nationalism. Refusing the ideology of art for art’s sake and fusing aesthetics with Ethics, black aesthetic critics regarded artistic form as a transparent medium of moral and political messages, and could justify Art only if it served the function of raising the cultural consciousness of the black community. Elements of African culture (including clothing, hairstyles, language, music,


Reading Baker, Houston A., Jr 1980: The Journey Back. Gates, Henry Louis, Jr 1978: “Preface to blackness: text and pretext.” Gayle, Addison, Jr, ed. 1971 (1972): The Black Aesthetic. McDowell, Deborah 1989: “Reading family matters.” Smith, Valerie 1989: “Gender and Afro-Americanist literary theory and criticism.”

madhu dubey

black arts movement A separatist black cultural movement developed during the middle and late 1960s by a variety of dramatists, poets, and critics in largely urban areas of the United States. Among its prominent practitioners and advocates were: Amiri Baraka, Ed Bullins, Mari Evans, Hoyt W. Fuller, Addison Gayle, Jr, Nikki Giovanni, Stephen Henderson, Ron Karenga, Haki Madhubuti, Ron Milner, Larry Neal, Carolyn Rodgers, and Sonia Sanchez. Explicitly committed to propagating the ideology of black cultural nationalism, the black arts movement was founded on the premise that black people in the United States share a unique set of aesthetic and cultural values which require indigenous modes of appreciation that must be developed completely separately from the surrounding white culture. In order to raise black consciousness and to free the black community from the false consciousness produced by participation in mainstream American culture, black arts proponents attempted to create an autonomous black cultural community by various means. Several independent journals (Journal of Black Poetry, Black Books Bulletin), publishing houses (Broadside Press, Jihad Press, Third World Press), theater groups (Baraka’s Harlem Black Arts Repertory Theater School, Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theater), and other cultural organizations (such as Spirit House in Newark, or the Black Academy of Arts and Letters) were founded in the 1960s. Numerous cultural events including street plays and poetry readings, concerts, lectures, exhibitions, and creative writing workshops were organized during this period with the explicit goal of fashioning an alternative system of values for the black community. Although the Black aesthetic program developed by black arts advocates has been severely criticized by subsequent generations of black writers, the black arts movement enabled remarkable formal innovations in all genres of black literature, and undeniably succeeded in promoting a powerful sense of black cultural pride and solidarity. See also Black aesthetic.

Reading Baker, Houston A., Jr 1988: Afro-American Poetics: Revisions of Harlem and the Black Aesthetic.

black arts movement

dance, and religious practices) were appropriated and celebrated by numerous black artists during the 1960s in an attempt to recover an alternative cultural tradition that survived the middle passage and the ensuing history of slavery and political oppression. Affirming the cultural resources of the black community, black aesthetic theorists soundly condemned the Western aesthetic privileging of the individual artist as the source of creation. The collective emphasis of black aesthetic ideology motivated its promotion of certain literary genres over others as well as its perception of oral forms as the repositories of authentic black communal consciousness. Often elevating music in particular to a black cultural paradigm, black aesthetic critics preferred Poetry and drama as the genres which, because they are more amenable to public oral performances than fiction, are capable of achieving a direct, interactive relationship between the artist and the black community. Perhaps the most profoundly transformative element of black aesthetic ideology was its redefinition of the category of blackness as a beautiful, natural, vital essence. However, this new mystique of blackness was often elaborated in highly dogmatic terms, discouraging literary explorations of the internal differences that complicate any unitary conception of black experience. Consequently, black writers and critics of the 1970s and 1980s have reacted sharply against black aesthetic theory on several grounds, including its essentialist and sternly prescriptive discourse on racial authenticity (see Gates, 1978), and its projection of black machismo, conjoined with its dismissal of black feminist ideology as a form of false Western consciousness that impedes the formation of a unified black community (see McDowell, 1989; Smith, 1989). See also Black arts movement.

black cultural studies

82 Jones, LeRoi, and Neal, Larry, eds 1968: Black Fire. Neal, Larry 1971 (1972): “ The black arts movement.” Smith, David Lionel 1991: “The black arts movement and its critics.”

madhu dubey

black cultural studies The notion of a black cultural studies is both problematic and locatable in a specific set of critical and cultural practices. While there is no definition of the term “black cultural studies,” a wide range of Writings, theories, cultural work, and performances have emerged as an informally defined area of inquiry within what has come to be called Cultural studies. Such Discourses have been related to the histories and Cultures of peoples historically invoked and produced as “black” or, at other times, more loosely as “Third World,” in a postindependence, postcolonial and post-Civil Rights framework. A black cultural studies addresses the interests, concerns, ideologies, and contexts of black cultural work within a national and global context. While no particular set of theories proposes a separate area called black cultural studies, the analysis and critique of work dealing with questions of Race and Ideology, race and Culture, race and material practice, race and Gender, emerged out of and within the absences and legacies of existing critical and cultural studies. Where race was merely incidental to the axis around which different trajectories of cultural studies emerged, a black cultural studies accounts for the ways race plays a crucial part within feminist, Marxist, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial theories of culture. There are different contingent developments within the broader area of cultural studies which have contributed to the emergence of race as a crucial component of a politically informed practice of culture. In Britain, the development of British cultural studies, in its many different inflections till the 1970s and the early 1980s, largely tended to overlook or include (in a peripheral fashion) the intersections of race, sexuality, and gender toward a primarily class and political economy-based critique of culture. While research and cultural work continually addressed concerns of race and gender within British cultural studies, it was the broad expanse of writings in informal spaces, as

well as through centers like the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, journals such as Race and Class, and the dialogs within community centers, art communities, cultural workers, film and theater practitioners, and independent collectives such as the Sankofa, Ceddo, Retake, and Black Audio Film Collectives which brought about a more rigorous and popular shift in the cultural work being done from the 1970s to the 1990s. In the United States, the popularization and diffusion of the term “cultural studies” has produced numerous versions of a United Statesbased form of cultural studies, with various genealogies or intellectual formations. The particular history of cultural work in the United States has produced a critical practice committed to exploring the cultural production of various legally constituted minorities as part of the broader development of cultural studies with the legacies of a postemancipation and postCivil Rights discourse. Of these recent critical developments, which I am locating primarily within the Academy and other institutions of culture, the impact and pertinence of race in the study of Popular culture has been an important though marginal aspect of the development of an American cultural studies. The very term “black cultural studies” must be viewed as part of a larger movement toward both a moving away from traditional theoretical approaches to black culture, as well as an inflection within the US context of a rigorous minority discourse during the 1980s and the 1990s. While the expression could be regarded as a contradiction in terms from some viewpoints, it is also part of the historic formations of political and cultural frameworks within the United States. As such, the articulation of a black cultural studies has been in tandem with the emergence of an Asian–American cultural studies, a Latino/ Chicana/o cultural studies, and so on, not as independent developments, but rather, as deeply imbricated by the political and legal rhetorics within the United States. In Britain, publications such as Policing the Crisis, The Empire Strikes Back, There Ain’t No Black In the Union Jack, Charting the Journey, the ICA Documents 6 and 7, Race and Class, the writings of C.L.R. James, Stuart Hall, Hazel


Reading Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies 1982: The Empire Strikes Back. Cham, Mbye B. and Andrade-Watkins, Claire, eds 1988: Blackframes: Critical Perspectives on Black Independent Cinema. Diawara, Manthia 1992: African Cinema: Politics and Culture. Ferguson, Russell et al., eds 1990: Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures. Gilroy, Paul 1987: There Ain’t No Black In The Union Jack. The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation. Grossberg, L., Nelson, L., and Treichler, P. 1992: Cultural Studies. hooks, bell 1992: Black Looks: Race and Representation. James, C.L.R. 1938 (1980): The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Saint Domingo Revolution. Mercer, Kobena, ed. 1988: Black Film/British Cinema, ICA Document 7.

Owusu, Kwesi, ed. 1988: Storms of the Heart: An Anthology of Black Arts and Culture. Wallace, Michelle 1992: Black Popular Culture. Williams, Patricia J. 1991: The Alchemy of Race and Rights.

may joseph

black nationalism Black nationalist movements of various kinds have had a long and continuous history in the United States, from the back-to-Africa emigrationist societies of the late eighteenth century to the hip-hop nationalism of the 1990s. Despite sharp ideological differences, all types of black nationalism share the conviction that blacks exist in a relationship of colonial subordination to white America, and can attain economic, political, and cultural equality only through the development of a racial solidarity based on their common experience of oppression. Strategic separatism from mainstream American society is essential to all kinds of black nationalism, whether the ultimate goal be the establishment of a separate black nation or the achievement of full citizenship in the United States. For the sake of analytical clarity, the many black nationalist ideologies may be divided into the following categories. Territorial separatism is perhaps the most extreme variety of black nationalism, represented by organizations such as the Republic of New Africa and the Revolutionary Action Movement, which demand the formation of geographically demarcated and sovereign all-black townships or states within the United States. Closely affiliated to territorial separatism is emigrationism, which enjoyed its heyday during the late eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, and whose most celebrated proponents include Martin Delany, Alexander Crummell, and Marcus Garvey. It called for the founding of a separate nation in Africa, Haiti, or even Canada, consisting of black émigrés from the United States. Several black nationalist ideologies have been inspired and authorized by radical theologies of political emancipation. Whether Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, religious nationalist thinkers and organizations such as Albert Cleage, the National Committee of Black Churchmen, the

black nationalism

Carby, Erroll Lawrence, Pratibha Parmar, Paul Gilroy, Homi Bhabha, Jim Pines, Kobena Mercer, and the films of the various film and video collectives such as Ceddo, Black Audio, Sankofa, Star, and Retake, and the various informal modes of exchange through the works of various black playwrights/performers such as Benjamin Zephaniah, Mustapha Matura, Yvonne Brewster, Hanif Khureishi, and black/Asian artists in Britain, created a milieu of cultural work that was locally based, committed, and theoretically engaged with questions of Aesthetics, practice, audience, and Ideology. In the United States since the 1980s, a number of publications have emerged that map, discuss, and debate the various implications of cultural studies in that country and its differing genealogies. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Cultural Studies by Grossberg, Nelson, Treichler, various journals such as Inscriptions, Cultural Studies, Transitions, Diaspora, Cultural Critique, Critical Inquiry, Black Popular Culture, and the writings of people like Michele Wallace, bell hooks, Wahneema Lubiano, Cornel West, Manthia Diawara, Herman Grey, Clyde Taylor, Michael Dyson, Tricia Rose, Houston Baker, and Henry Louis Gates among others, have discussed the practice of a black cultural studies which maintains “race” as a critical axis of inquiry. See also Cultural studies; Diaspora; Hall, Stuart; Hybridity.

Bloch, Ernst

84 Nation of Islam, and the Moorish American Science Temple maintain that blacks are a chosen people whose liberation is divinely ordained, but who must nevertheless form separatist religious organizations to work actively toward freedom. Perhaps the most popular of all the nationalist ideologies is cultural nationalism, based on the belief that black people across the globe share a unique culture originating in Africa. The 1960s in America witnessed the spawning of numerous cultural nationalist organizations, among them Amiri Baraka’s Congress of African Peoples and Ron Karenga’s US Organization, all of which were committed to preserving and celebrating black cultural difference by recovering an unbroken cultural heritage rooting back to Africa. The cultural nationalists regard institutional separatism as a necessary precondition for developing alternative, indigenous interpretative systems that alone can fully comprehend and appreciate the non-Western modes of black American Culture. During the 1960s, cultural nationalism was often sharply polarized against revolutionary nationalism, which was advocated by organizations such as the Black Panther Party, the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. The most significant point of disagreement between these two ideologies is that, while the cultural nationalists consider the cultural independence of the black community to be a prerequisite to its political liberation, the revolutionary nationalists, depending on homegrown variants of Marxist–Leninist Ideology, contend that black liberation requires the overthrow of American capitalism. Economic autonomy has always formed a crucial component of black nationalist ideology, ranging from the socialist ideal of the revolutionary nationalists to the bourgeois nationalism of organizations like the United Negro Improvement Association and the Nation of Islam. The most widespread form of black economic nationalism in the United States has been bourgeois in its orientation, encouraging black-hiring and buyblack campaigns in the hope of establishing an independent black capitalist economy parallel to the American capitalist system. Of course, in actuality none of these nationalist ideologies has operated in a pure state unmixed

with the others. A rare kind of nationalism that lacks a historic relationship to a specific geographical territory, black nationalism in the United States has nevertheless derived its effective power and its ideological coherence from a profound sense of disaffection with the processes of American capitalism and democracy.

Reading Bracey, John H., Jr, Meier, August, and Elliott, Rudwick, eds 1970: Black Nationalism in America. Draper, Theodore 1970: The Rediscovery of Black Nationalism. Moses, Wilson Jeremiah 1978: The Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850–1925. Pinkney, Alphonso 1976: Red, Black and Green: Black Nationalism in the United States. Stuckey, Sterling 1972: The Ideological Origins of Black Nationalism.

madhu dubey

Bloch, Ernst (1885–1977) German Marxist philosopher. Born in Ludwigshafen, the son of a railway worker, Bloch was educated in Munich, Würzburg, and Berlin (where he met Lukács) before moving to Heidelberg. In his first expressionistic book, Geist der Utopia (1918) Bloch sought to revitalize utopian thought, seemingly combining Marxist materialism with mystic and messianic elements. Thomas Münzer als Theologe der Revolution (1921) developed Bloch’s concern with the revolutionary potential of religious thought, and indeed his perception of the inherently religious nature of humanity. In Erbschaft dieser Ziet (Heritage of Our Times) (1935) Bloch responded to the rise of Nazism with a series of cultural and social analyses that embraced physics alongside music, cinema, literature, and politics. In 1938 Bloch was forced into exile in America. Although he had no academic post, it was there that he wrote his most important work, Das Prinzip Hoffnung (The Principle of Hope). This may be taken to underline the shift in emphasis of Bloch’s concerns from the religious and messianic to a more broadly based social and cultural analysis of utopian aspiration and longing. In 1949 Bloch returned to Europe, to a post at Leipzig University. The following decade saw Bloch’s increasing disillusionment with Eastern European Communism, and periodic

85 Reading Bloch, E. (1986): The Principle of Hope, 3 vols. —— (1988): Natural Law and Human Dignity. —— (1991): Heritage of Our Times. Hudson, W. (1982): The Marxist Philosophy of Ernst Bloch.

andrew edgar

Bloom, Harold (1930–) American literary theorist and critic. One of the most influential and widely read living theorists of Poetry, Bloom is an extraordinarily prolific, individualistic, and controversial writer and editor. Like many other North American theorists who came into prominence during the second half of the twentieth century, Bloom did his early work on English Romanticism (see Romantic studies). His writing falls roughly into four groups: (i) a series of studies in Romantic poetry: Shelley’s Mythmaking (1959), The Visionary Company (1961), Blake’s Apocalypse (1963), and the commentary and annotations for The Poetry and Prose of William Blake, edited by David Erdman (1965); (ii) six books on the theory of poetry: The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry (1973), A Map of Misreading (1975b), Kabbalah and Criticism (1975a), Poetry and Repression (1976), Agon: Towards a Theory of Revisionism (1982), and The Breaking of the Vessels (1982); (iii) studies in the modernist inheritance of Romanticism and its transformation into “the American Sublime”: Yeats’ “A Vision” (1972), Figures of Capable Imagination (1976), and Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate (1977); and (iv) the Chelsea House series of literally several hundred volumes of criticism on major writers and texts, each volume selected, edited, and introduced by Bloom. This final project may be the most ambi-tious ever undertaken by a single literary critic. Although often considered a member of what was once the “Yale school” of criticism – which included Geoffrey Hartman, J. Hillis Miller, and Paul De man – Bloom has often respectfully distanced himself from their work. He once announced his determination to find a middle way between the spiritualism of Auerbach and Frye and the deconstructive secularism of Derrida and Miller. In the clarity and consistency of its vision, however, Bloom’s theory of literature most closely

Bloom, Harold

but severe criticism by more orthodox or vulgar Marxists. By chance he was in West Germany in 1961 when the Berlin Wall was raised, and he applied for political asylum. He accepted a post at Tübingen. His extensive late publications include works on religion, metaphysics, materialism, and natural law. Bloch’s Marxism rests within the tradition of process philosophy. The ontological structures of the human being and the world are “not yet” given or achieved. Bloch stresses the future orientation of Marxism, arguing that Marx transformed philosophy by making the recognition of present contradiction the ground for future orientated practice. Previously, philosophy had merely interpreted the past. Marxism is thereby presented, paradoxically, as an open System. Hegel’s backward-looking system, characterized by anamnesis, is closed. It presupposes that truth has already been realized. Bloch’s philosophy is in contrast open not merely to new particularistic content, but also to the possibility that such content will demand the rethinking of the system’s categories. Yet the philosophy remains disciplined. It lacks the coherence of a closed system, because the world itself is not well ordered. Bloch frequently appeals to the fragments and montage techniques of expressionism in order to explore the tension and latency within contemporary society. In diverse aspects of Culture, and specifically in imaginative yearning, be it for a better society or merely for such technological achievement as flight, Bloch finds evidence of humanity being “not yet conscious” of its truth and potential. The operator “not yet” (noch nicht) allows Bloch to transform concepts, and so highlight the complex future orientation concealed within overtly repressive social relationships. The “not yet” refers at once to that which is conceivable, but not yet possible; present now, but only problematically; that which is expected in the future and that which has “still not” occurred. The utopian future is obscurely glimpsed in its preappearance (Vor-Schein), through humanity’s discontent with this world, and its hope for a better world. For Bloch such yearning is not empty but, through disciplined interpretation, serves as the point of departure for revolutionary practice. See also Marxism and Marxist criticism.

Boas, Franz

86 resembles that of Frye. Not only do Bloom and Frye share a deep imaginative commitment to the work of William Blake, but also, like Blake, they see Literary criticism, theory, and history at their best as poetic projects. As though in response to Blake’s aphorism, “without contraries is no progression,” Bloom’s books read as if it were a progressive contrary to Frye’s. Whereas Frye is at his best when writing about Comedy and romance, Bloom is at his best in the modes of Tragedy and Irony. For him the history of poetry is a Nietzschean struggle (or agon) of powerful wills, but – in the manner of Blake’s resolution of the Oedipal struggle between the repressive father Urizen and revolutionary son Orc – the triumph of the belated son eventually lies in his final embrace and incorporation of his progenitor. Creative belatedness for Bloom requires the embracing and revisionary appropriation of the past. Though the later strong poet revises his precursor in a willful Misreading, responding to the Anxiety of influence that comes to him from the work of earlier strong poets, the prolific outcome is a continuation of the poetic line of descent. Also like Blake and Frye, Bloom’s progeny have been anything but passive receivers of the will of the father. His most notorious follower is Camille Paglia, herself a prodigious scholar and outrageous bane of American feminists. However, as Bloom’s best commentator Peter de Bolla has observed, the determined efforts of Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar to write a comprehensive literary history of women is also a Bloomian legacy (de Bolla, 1988, p. 12). Despite Bloom’s outrageous and deliberately provocative anti-feminism, he has written a detailed and brilliant commentary on Hebrew Scripture (The Book of J), suggesting that the Yahwist poet (J) was (or should have been) a woman (see Biblical studies).

Reading Bloom, Harold 1961: The Visionary Company. —— 1973: The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. —— 1982: The Breaking of the Vessels. —— 1991: The Book of J. de Bolla, Peter 1988: Harold Bloom: Towards Historical Rhetorics.

michael payne

Boas, Franz (1858–1942) North American anthropologist. Often regarded as the founder of modern anthropology in North America, Boas was also a major contributor to early twentiethcentury studies of Native American Cultures. Born in Westphalia, Germany, he studied geography, physics, and mathematics, receiving his doctorate at Kiel in 1881. The following year, he accompanied a meteorological expedition to Greenland, where “a year spent as an Eskimo among Eskimos . . . led me . . . towards a desire to understand what determines the behavior of human beings.” Emigrating to the United States, Boas taught geography and anthropology at Clark University and then at Columbia University until 1937, where he remained Professor Emeritus until his death. His students included Alfred Kroeber, Margaret Mead, and others who became major figures in twentieth-century American anthropology and Cultural studies. In place of grand theories or laws, Boas insisted instead upon the careful recording of even apparently small details of cultural expression as the only solid empirical basis for understanding and appreciating human behavior in all its diversity and richness – an approach which became known as historical particularism. Criticizing biological determinism (“nature”), he emphasized the primacy of culture (“nurture”) in human development, engaging what became one of the crucial intellectual and ideological debates of the century. He also stressed the complexity, essential adequacy, and uniqueness of all human cultures and languages. Boas helped establish the methodological importance of direct, personal fieldwork, and he conducted extensive linguistic fieldwork among Native Americans on the Canadian Pacific coast. He was wary of popularizing scholarship because he feared its oversimplified use in political causes, and he condemned fascist pseudoscientific theories of racial superiority in the 1930s. See also Cultural studies; Kroeber, Alfred L.; Mead, Margaret; Native American studies; Race.

Reading Boas, Franz 1911: The Mind of Primitive Man. Stocking, George, ed. 1974: The Shaping of American Anthropology. 1883–1911: A Franz Boas Reader.

james phillips

87 economic value. The poor were defined as lacking the racialized characteristics of “fair skin, straight hair, orgnathous jaw, skull shape and size, well-composed bodily proportions, and so on” (1993, p. 30). Later in even the most racially polarized societies, bodily skin color became but one mode of enculturated reference that included “modes of dress, bearing, gait, hairstyle, speech, and their relation” (Goldberg, 1993, p. 74). On such distinctions black slavery and antiSemitism – to mention but two instances of Racism – have been sustained. Even within racial groups, variations in skin color, hair texture, and other bodily features have been the basis on which Class distinctions have been maintained (see Race). Recent Cultural theory has explicitly emphasized the body’s semiotic qualities. For Kristeva the first signifying process occurs in the womb (Payne, 1993, pp. 167–70), and for Foucault the body is the site of an unidealized genealogical history that resists the abstractions of origin and emergence (Foucault, 1977, p. 147). Nevertheless, Kenneth Clark (1956) has shown that the depiction of the nude has been a manifestation of such abstractly idealized forms, at least since Vitruvius, and that artists have been ready to distort grotesquely the human body in order to make its representation conform to a culturally specific aesthetic ideal. Even so, somatic imagery has long been paradigmatic “for any forced, artful, contrived, and violent study of depths” (Stafford, 1991, p. 47). This accounts for Foucault’s terse remark (1977, p. 154) that “knowledge is not made for understanding: it is made for cutting.”

Reading Brown, Peter 1988: The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity. Clark, Kenneth 1956: The Nude. Foucault, Michel 1972 (1977): “Nietzsche, genealogy, history.” Goldberg, David Theo 1993: Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning. Payne, Michael 1993: Reading Theory: An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida, and Kristeva. Stafford, Barbara Maria 1991: Body Criticism: Imaging the Unseen in Enlightenment Art and Medicine. Tillyard, E.M.W. 1943: The Elizabethan World Picture.

michael payne


body Although it may at first seem solidly a fixture of Nature rather than Culture, the body is, nevertheless, both a biological entity and a social and philosophical construct. Because it is born, feels pain and pleasure, ages, and dies, the physical body can never be completely appropriated by the Symbolic order. Although it may be “foundational of all symbolism” (Brooks, 1993, p. 7), the body is also precultural and prelinguistic. Whatever is not of the body, however, seems to demand that it be thought of in terms of the body. Thus, the poet William Blake in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1794) could refer to it as “the chief inlet of the soul in this age.” As soon as the body becomes an object of thought, it is reshaped by the Ideology of Discourse. Accordingly, Peter Brown (1988, pp. 9–11) has demonstrated that early Christians commonly thought of women as “failed males” because their bodies had not managed during coagulation in their mothers’ wombs to amass the same quantities of heat and spiritual vitality that made men what they were. Just as the warmth of semen demonstrated the vital achievement of the male body, so menstruation was a sign of the failure of the female to process heat, which coagulated when it was not used. Still, a woman’s surplus energy was necessary for its intended use in the nurturing of children, which did not, however, restrain Galen from observing that “the Creator had purposefully made one half of the whole race imperfect, and as it were, mutilated” (De usu partium, 14.6). The theory of female heat at least was a gesture toward overturning the idea spoken by no less than Apollo in Aeschylus’s Eumenides that only the father is the true parent, the mother’s body being merely an incubating receptacle of the male seed (see Reproductive technology). Perhaps with a sense of irony Shakespeare invoked some of this ancient anatomical theory to imply (in Sonnet 129) that spirit is conveyed by semen. He often plays, too, with the convention that the temperament of human beings is determined by the prominence of one of four fluids or “humours:” blood, phlegm, choler, or melancholy. The dominant humour was determined by the sign under which a person was born (Tillyard, 1943). During the Enlightenment, as David Theo Goldberg has shown, classical values of bodily beauty were resurrected and equated with

bolekaja criticism

88 bolekaja criticism A term by which Chinweizu and Madubuike identify the corrective struggle of “men and of nations” with “the stiflers of their life” (1983). In Yoruba bolekaja means “Come down let’s fight!” However, there is far more to bolekajarism than intellectual pugilism. Committed to afrocentric cultural nationalism, “Issues and tasks,” the final chapter of Toward the Decolonization of African Literature is a manifesto for African Literary production and interpretation. Earlier chapters consist of resolute critiques of the universalist assumptions of “eurocentric criticism” of African fiction and poetry. In contrast to eurocentrism, they propose a “supportive” role for the critic. Supportive criticism provides writer and audience with the knowledge of “things valued in traditional African orature.” A principal term in this Hermeneutics of support is imitation: just as writers must rely on African oral Discourse to simulate “the flavor of African life,” so critics should sustain their efforts by providing them with the raw material – “knowledge of things valued in traditional African orature, and why” – of their craft. Given their stress on oral discourse, their preference for “20th-century diction and idiom,” and their insistence on the autonomy of African literature, it is hardly surprising that Chinweizu, Jemie, and Madubuike decry the impact of the “anglo-modernist sensibility” on some African poets and approve of the pursuit of traditionalism in others. Bolekaja criticism has been called an “ethnic model” for its insistence on the “cultural specificity” of African literature and its “pursuit and defense of difference.” But missing from this appraisal is the recognition that some of its political inspiration derives from nonethnic, supraethnic “imagined communities” – the nation, the continent. Equally unacknowledged are its other debts: its cognitive (us–them) apparatus, its mimeticism, its (cultural) nationalist Ideology. Many of these are owed, either directly or not, to European history, epistemologies, and theories of art. Bolekaja criticism is, like afrocentrism in North America, a form of nativism. Caught in the logic of eurocentrism, it cannot formulate a hermeneutic by which the generic, linguistic, and expressive eclecticism of African cultural practices can be most productively explicated.

Reading Appiah, Kwame Anthony 1992: In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture. Chinweizu, Onwuchekwa Jemie, and Madubuike, Ihechukwu, 1983: Toward the Decolonization of African Literature. Vol. 1.

uzoma esonwanne

boundary 2 Since its inception at the State University of New York at Binghamton under the editorship of W.V. Spanos in 1972, boundary 2 has been the leading journal of the literature and Critical theory of Postmodernism. In its early years, the journal was a vehicle for a very particular critique of the metaphysical bases of aesthetic modernism which was derived from the work of Martin Heidegger. In a number of important articles, Spanos himself argued for a postmodernist literature and Literary criticism which would acknowledge the open and unfinished condition of “being-in-time,” thus abandoning the abstract will-to-power of the disinterested, or timeless work or critical interpretation. boundary 2 has also provided a forum for postmodernist Poetry and fiction. More recently, under the editorship of Paul Bové, the journal has widened its focus to explore developments in postmodernism and attitudes towards it outside the Anglo-American mainstream, for example, in Ireland, Latin America, and Japan.

Reading Bové, Paul 1990: “A conversation with William V. Spanos.” Pasanen, Outi 1986: “Postmodernism: an interview with William V. Spanos.”

steven connor

Bourdieu, Pierre (1930–2002) French sociologist. Although Bourdieu graduated from the École Normale Supérieure as an agrégé de philosophie, in reaction against what he took to be the intellectually authoritarian and Stalinist orientation of the institution, he refused to write a thesis. Conscripted into the French Army in 1956, he spent four years in Algeria, publishing Sociologie de l’Algérie in 1958 and teaching at the University of Algiers until 1960 when he returned to France. After short periods at the University of Paris and the University of Lille, he assumed the


Reading Bourdieu, Pierre 1958 (1962): The Algerians. —— 1980 (1990): The Logic of Practice. —— 1990: In Other Words. Jenkins, Richard 1992: Pierre Bourdieu. Robbins, Derek 1991: The Work of Pierre Bourdieu.

michael payne

bracketing The name of a philosophical method first introduced by the German philoso-

pher Edmund Husserl in and around 1905. “Bracketing” means “putting out of operation.” The phenomenologist, Husserl insisted, must “bracket,” that is “suspend his belief in,” “not make any use of” all presuppositions, all that he already believes in, in order to be able to do presuppositionless description of experience. “Bracketing” is not denying, nor does it amount to doubting. It amounts to “neutralizing” one’s attitude toward what one brackets. When you “bracket” something, something else remains outside the bracket. Husserl called it the phenomenological “residue.” j.n. mohanty

Braudel, Fernand (1902–85) French historian who was first and foremost a critical theorist, although this is a phrase he would never have applied to himself. He regarded himself as a historian of the longue durée, one who thought that good history was histoire pensée, that is, history which provided responses to serious intellectual questions. He is one of three towering figures of the Annales school of history, the leader of the so-called second generation (the first generation having been led by its founders, Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch). The Annales school stood for the coming together and mutual fructification of history and the social sciences. It stood in opposition to all forms of mindless Empiricism, which Braudel termed histoire événementielle. It stood equally opposed to all structural universalisms that asserted generalizations purporting to hold true throughout time and space. In short, the Annales school refused to be trapped in the Methodenstreit, rejecting equally the nomothetic and idiographic stances. The Annales school was thus established on the basis of a profound critique of the major methodological and substantive premises of a very large part of the writings of historians and social scientists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Fernand Braudel made two stunning contributions to contemporary thought. They are to be found primarily in his two great (and very large) books: The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (1949; 2nd edition, amplified, 2 vols, 1966); and Civilization and Capitalism, 15th to 18th Century (1979, 3 vols). The first contribution is the concept of multiple

Braudel, Fernand

post of Director of Studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, where he soon established the Centre for European Sociology, which he continues to direct. Bourdieu was appointed to a chair at the Collège de France in 1981. Most of his publications reflect both his early engagement with philosophy and his meticulous anthropological fieldwork in Algeria. Like Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, Bourdieu was equally suspicious of the Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre and the Structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss. In his generous but critical response to such thinkers as Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Wittgenstein, Bourdieu finds in each of them a means for overcoming the limitations of the others (Jenkins, 1992, p. 19). Bourdieu was persistently concerned with the problem of how an ethnographer can come to know the Culture he studies. It is not sufficient, he argues, simply for the investigator to distance himself from, or to objectify, the social reality he studies; it is also necessary that he sustain a continuing critique of his methods and epistemological Paradigms. The first critical distancing he calls “participant objectivation,” and the second “the objectification of objectification.” Although he is suspicious and ironically dismissive of theory (despite his several books and articles with “theory” in the title), Bourdieu was attentive to the ways that theories, often unconsciously and uncritically, determine the cultural practices of people’s everyday lives. Doing is what makes knowing possible, he argues (Jenkins, 1992, p. 69). A prolific writer, Bourdieu’s interests ranged from sociological theory and education to literature, the visual arts, and philosophy. The Logic of Practice (1980) provides the best entrance into his work, and there is an excellent bibliography of his publications in In Other Words (1990).

Braudel, Fernand

90 social temporalities. The second contribution is his upside-down analysis of capitalism as a mode of production and a civilization. The Mediterranean began as an analysis of the regime of Philip II of Spain. In writing it, Braudel turned the story around. It became the story of the Mediterranean world as a (not the) worldeconomy. The hyphen in the word “worldeconomy” was crucial to Braudel, because in French he had coined the term économie-monde precisely to distinguish it from économie mondiale, usually translated into English as “world economy” without the hyphen (see discussion in Braudel, 1984, pp. 21–4). The Mediterranean world was a world-economy in that it had a discernible division of labor with dominant cities and a hierarchy. It was a “world theatre,” with boundaries and an identity, but one that bestrode political and cultural frontiers. A world-economy was a space–time zone with a history. Such a conception brought to the fore the essential intellectual question Braudel sought to address: If a given space–time zone has a history, indeed if the space and the time form its history but its history defines its space and time as well, how can one know, how can one define categories of space and time? For most of modern thought, space and time were just there – implacable, unbudgeable, exogenous parameters to the lives and actions of individuals, groups, and social structures. One recorded the last in time and space. Time and space were not themselves empirical variables to study. Braudel said no to this standard view. Time and space were, he argued, the central empirical variables to study, since they were social creations. He argued this by demonstration in The Mediterranean. He argued this theoretically in his key methodological article, “Histoire et les sciences sociales,” published in Annales E.S.C. in 1958. For Braudel, there were three real social temporalities and a fourth mythical one. The three real ones he termed Structure, conjuncture, and event, which correlated with long, medium, and short time. Short time, histoire événementielle, episodic history was the social temporality explored by most historians. It was the history of kings and battles, the history of dates and chronology, the history of infinite contingencies. But, said Braudel in The Mediterranean, “events

are dust.” They are dust because they matter little and change little. And they are dust because they prevent one from seeing the underlying real structures. Structures exist in the longue durée, which may last hundreds, even thousands of years; but they are never eternal. Structures are those continuing underlying social patterns which provide the continuing constraints on our actions. They may represent patterned cultural, economic, or political modes of dealing with, and reacting to, natural phenomena (from climate to topography to parasites) or particular sociocultural modes of perceiving social reality (such as world views or normative rules governing social hierarchies). Their crucial aspect is that, in the short run, structures are fixed and therefore the framework within which the impact of events is limited. And in between structures and events lie the conjonctures (inadequately translated into English as conjunctures). They represent the cyclical rhythms which are the normal fluctuations of all structures. Most of these fluctuations are middlerun, says Braudel, constituting discernible temporary but important shifts in the global context (such as periods of overall economic expansion versus periods of overall economic contraction). Braudel’s contribution was to insist that serious history, histoire pensée, was the explication of the structures and the conjunctures, and not of the events – and also not of that mythical time–space, the eternal time–space of the structural universalists (the prime example cited by Braudel being Lévi-Strauss). Braudel has become so associated with the concept of the longue durée that some of his readers have failed to notice the equally critical concept of capitalism. If The Mediterranean was organized as a tale told three times, about three time–spaces (structure, conjuncture, event), Civilization and Capitalism is organized as a tale told about three storeys in the building of economic life: the ground floor of everyday life, the middle floor of the market, and the upper storey of capitalism. In some ways, everyday life is akin to structures. Braudel is speaking here of patterns of very long duration whose reality constrains the actions of people and institutions in the shorter run. However, if “structures” seemed to refer to macrophenomena (the relationship of mountain-dwellers to plain-dwellers, the wind


Reading Braudel, Fernand 1958 (1972): “History and the social sciences: the longue durée.” —— 1949 (1973): The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. —— 1979 (1981–4): Civilization and Capitalism, 15th–18th Century.

Wallerstein, Immanuel 1991: Unthinking Social Science: The Limits of Nineteenth-Century Paradigms. Part V: “Revisiting Braudel.”

immanuel wallerstein

Brecht, Bertolt (1898–1956) German playwright, poet, director, and theoretician. One of the most influential theorists of drama in the twentieth century, especially in England and France, as well as in Germany, Brecht was born in Augsburg. His career generally divides into four stages: early plays, poems, and short stories, and his two operas (1914–30); his Lehrstücke, or learning plays (1930–33); plays written during his exile from Germany (1933–48); return to Germany, Austrian citizenship, establishment of the Berliner Ensemble, and adaptations of Shakespeare, Molière, and others. Coming of age during the 1914–18 war, Brecht studied medicine at the university in Munich, was drafted, and suffered traumatic experiences as a hospital orderly during the last months of the war. As a result, he espoused pacifism and a generally nihilistic attitude toward life. Settling in Berlin during the chaotic years of the Weimar Republic, he came under two main influences, Marxism and the theater. During his youth he had read the Manifesto and by 1926 he was studying Das Kapital. Though he never joined the Communist Party, he determined to change the world in accordance with Marxist principles. His interest in the theater, for which he had already written two plays, led Brecht to become an assistant to Max Reinhardt. At this point he developed a familiarity with the work of Erwin Piscator, a director who had evolved a mode of theater that he called epic drama. In 1928, Brecht produced The Threepenny Opera, a sardonic, pessimistic view of capitalism. The didactic plays of Brecht’s second period followed, notably The Mother and Saint Joan of the Stockyards, both in 1932. By this time Brecht had become a serious student of dialectical materialism. Censored by the National Socialists in 1933, Brecht left Germany. After moving from one European city to another and writing The Life of Galileo, The Good Person of Szechwan, and Mother Courage and Her Children, he finally left for America in 1941. Living mainly in New York and Los Angeles, he wrote various pieces, The

Brecht, Bertolt

patterns, the Roman limes as a continuing cultural boundary), the economy of everyday life seemed to refer primarily to very microphenomena (the patterns of cooking food, growing staples, costume, and the use of farm animals). These patterns provided the unspoken, unanalyzed basis of real economic life. The next storey, that of the market, was seen by Braudel in a very particular way. He defined the market as the zone of multiple buyers and sellers and therefore of “small” profits, of regularity, and of liberation from constraints. This may not seem exceptional, except that he quite explicitly saw the state as having played the role historically of preserving the freedom of the market by regulating it. The great enemy of the market for Braudel, what he called the anti-market, was not the state but capitalism. Capitalism was the opaque zone on top of, imposed upon, the market, the zone of “exceptional” profits via monopolies, and via the state in so far as it was the guarantor of monopolies. Far from being regular, capitalism was speculative. Far from being the zone of supply and demand, capitalism was the zone of power and cunning. Braudel turned upside down the classical picture of capitalism (that of both Adam Smith and Karl Marx) as normally competitive and only abnormally monopolistic. For Braudel, the whole point of capitalism – real capitalism, as seen historically in the longue durée – was the effort to suppress the freedom of the market in order to maximize profit. The impact of these two critical concepts of Braudel – multiple social temporalities and the priority of structure and conjuncture over event; and capitalism as the anti-market – is only now beginning to show its impact on history and the social sciences. Braudel represents one of the most original readings of the modern world and one of those most likely to form the basis of conceptual analyses in the twenty-first century.

Brecht, Bertolt

92 Caucasian Chalk Circle among them. He was forced to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, then left immediately for Switzerland. He ultimately settled in East Berlin and established the Berliner Ensemble in 1949, for which he wrote his adaptations and directed his plays until his death. While not agreeing with some of Piscator’s ideas, Brecht found in his predecessor’s epic drama a way to communicate his social ideas to an audience, a way that the current modes of drama failed to accommodate. Realism fell short because, though he espoused the dramatic goal of revealing to the audience the truth about social conditions as he saw them, he rejected the notion that the stage should present a mere slice of life: peering through an imagined fourth wall allowed a spectator to submit himself or herself passively to a world of illusion. He needed an audience that was actively engaged in the the struggle against the capitalist organization and bourgeois values of society. Brecht also opposed naturalism because its view of the human being revealed him or her as determined by environment, whereas Marx had taught him that people were capable of change. Finally, expressionism failed to serve Brecht’s purposes because it presented characters too subjectively. His theory of epic theater brilliantly resolved these objections to the drama of his day and forwarded his political agenda. Epic theatre had the didactic purpose of making the audience think about the social conditions of their lives. In his notes to The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1929), titled “The modern theatre is the epic theatre” (Willett, 1964, p. 37), Brecht provided a list of concepts, dramatic techniques, and stage devices that showed the change in emphasis from what he termed “dramatic theater,” by which he meant theater that followed Aristotelian principles, to epic theater. The key items in the list point to Brecht’s view of man’s nature, the staging of this view, and the desired effect on the audience. Because environment does not determine man’s nature, his identity is not fixed. This crucial conception allowed Brecht to treat the spectators as capable of thinking for themselves, and able to act on their new perceptions. His desire to bring his audience to the point of recognizing the truth about the inequalities of society led him to use

every dramatic device at his command to effect this goal. The corollary consisted in avoiding any pattern of dramatic construction or staging that frustrated his aim. Thus Brecht rejected any aspect of performance that would create illusion, since in his view illusion acts as a kind of narcotic that prevents clear thinking. Emotion, too, clouds the mind and hence must be avoided if possible. Let the play be constructed as a succession of discrete scenes, each of which presents an argument that is addressed to the reason. The spectator must neither be allowed to empathize with the characters nor be permitted to develop an interest in an intriguing plot. Consequently, the audience must be forced to stand outside the action so as to become an objective observer. For sensation, experience, and feelings, the spectator was to substitute thought, understanding, and deci-sions. Brecht’s termed this process Verfremdung, a word that is usually translated as “Alienation,” but since that term often carries inappropriate overtones, others are sometimes substituted: estrangement, detachment, or distantiation. However translated, the word points to Brecht’s desire to make the familiar strange. Were the spectator to perceive a character or an action as unfamiliar, even astonishing, he or she would be able to see it with fresh eyes. This Alienation effect (A-effect) would allow the spectators first to escape from their social and political conditioning, then to perceive the truth in their social situation, and finally to act on it. To illustrate how the epic play should be directed and acted, Brecht wrote an essay, “The street scene,” subtitled “A basic model for an epic theatre” (Willett, 1964, pp. 121–9). Imagine, writes Brecht, that a person has seen an automobile accident and then tells others what he or she saw. Instead of attempting to reenact the event by impersonating the driver or the victim, he uses an objective, reportorial style to narrate the succession of events with an eye to revealing their social significance. In this way, avoiding illusion and emotion, the narrator estranges the action so that the listeners can draw their own conclusions about who was responsible. To achieve the A-effect, actors in epic theater must, in like manner, forgo impersonating character in the way that Stanislavski advocated; they must distance themselves from the character and the action, reading their lines as though reporting a historical event.

93 of vision. The tone of the music was usually harsh, the songs sardonic and satiric, and the lighting flat and brilliant. In short, every aspect of Brecht’s dramaturgy was designed to establish the alienating gest. Some critics have pointed out that Brecht’s instinct for drama often defeated his theory of epic theater, that to the extent the plays have been successful the theory has suffered accordingly. The stage history of Mother Courage provides an illustrative example. Brecht condemned the title character because, as a capitalist entrepreneur, she lives only to profit from the war. Her obsession with buying and selling causes her to lose her three beloved children, and at the play’s end Brecht intended to show that, in getting back into harness to pull her wagon, she has learned nothing from her sorrow. At the play’s first performance, however, the audience empathized with her noble determination to carry on and tended to see her as a heroine. Angered, Brecht rewrote some of the scenes so as to present Mother Courage more unsympathetically (for example, scene 5, in which she refuses to allow some shirts in her stock to be used as bandages for the wounded). In the later Berlin production, however, the audience still did not see Courage as a villain; in fact they pitied her. Blaming the audience for their enslavement to Aristotelian or what he called “culinary” theater, he gave up. Thus, while the A-effect apparently worked well in the play’s opening scenes, Brecht had created characters and scenes that, toward the end of the play, prevented distancing. The play’s last scene, in which Kattrin dies during her successful attempt to save the city, is almost universally seen as tragic in its effect. Brecht finally had to admit that some emotion could be allowed at Kattrin’s death. The artist, the poet, and the Aristotelian dramatist in Brecht could, then, and sometimes did, override the theorist in him. If we look back over all of Brecht’s statements during his career, we can see that in fact he never took as firm a stand on the side of instruction as he sometimes seemed to. In fact, he always admitted that, in some way, a play should be entertaining. During his whole life, he never stood still, continually revising his plays and his ideas. As early as 1926 he was asserting that if he did not “get fun” out of his playwriting, he could not expect his audience to have “fun” (Willett, 1964, p. 7).

Brecht, Bertolt

One of their methods might consist in addressing the audience directly, not in an effort to solicit sympathy but with the goal of instructing them in reasoned choices. To communicate his social meaning, Brecht believed, following the example of Chinese acting, that the actor had to discover a social Gestus. Difficult to translate, Gestus (or gest) refers to a kind of fusion of substance, attitude, and gesture: any kind of sign, song, expression, or action. A social gest is one that allows the audience to understand the social attitudes and import of the scene in which it occurs. For Brecht, so important was the social gest that he wrote: “The object of the A-effect is to alienate the social gest underlying every incident” (Willett, 1964, p. 139). By way of illustration, the story is told of an incident during Brecht’s rehearsal of his adaptation of Marlowe’s Edward II. In one scene Baldock betrays Edward to the enemy by giving him a handkerchief. After many rehearsals Brecht shouted at the actor, “Not that way!” He then said to the actor, “Baldock is a traitor . . . You must demonstrate the behavior of a traitor. Baldock goes about the betrayal with friendly outstretched arms, tenderly and submissively handing (Edward) the cloth with broad, projecting gestures . . . The public should note the behavior of a traitor and thereby pay attention!” (McDowell, 1976, p. 113). Roland Barthes (1977, p. 73) suggests the significance of the social gest: “[T]his Brechian concept [is] one of the clearest and most intelligent that dramatic theory has ever produced,” and in a photo essay (1967) he acutely analyzed seven examples from Mother Courage. Other alienating stage devices included the use of posters that set forth the resolution of the scene’s key problem as well as the time and place of the scene. The spectator’s attention was thus directed away from suspense and toward critical interpretation. To further this aim, Brecht used montage to construct the succession of episodic scenes, so that the actors had no through-line to follow and the audience would not be drawn into the action. Moreover, coherent development within each scene was interrupted so that the social gest would be distanced (Benjamin, 1973, p. 18), and the songs were designed to arise only peripherally out of the situation. The musicians played in full view of the audience and the lighting equipment was set up in the audience’s field

Brecht, Bertolt

94 Likewise, in 1927, he wrote that though epic theater “appeals less to the feelings than to the spectator’s reason . . . it would be quite wrong to try and deny emotion to this kind of theatre” (Willett, 1964, p. 23). Even so, until 1939 Brecht held with the main goal of epic theater: to present the audience with instructive productions that would make them think critically. Then in “On experimental theatre” (1939) he began to see the need for balance: “How can the theatre be both instructive and entertaining?” (Willett, 1964, p. 135), and in 1948, when he wrote his major essay “A short organum for the theatre,” he moved to full acceptance of “fun:” “From the first it has been the theater’s business to entertain people. . . . Not even instruction can be demanded of it” (Willett, 1964, pp. 180–1). By this time Brecht had come to appreciate the shortcomings of his original concept of “epic theater,” a phrase that he now understood as too vague to express his intention. He shifted to the descriptive phrase “theater of the scientific age” but discarded it as being too narrow (Willett, 1964, p. 276). He finally resorted to the designation “dialectical theater,” though he had apparently not settled on it by the time he died. Brecht’s theory of drama will probably always be referred to as “epic theater,” and the term is useful in Signifying an objectively narrated story intended to estrange the spectators so that they can ponder current social conditions. At the same time the phrase “dialectical theater” goes to the very heart of Brecht’s practice (especially in his later plays), as it arises out of his theoretical assumptions, for he dramatizes each social situation as a process that is, as he wrote, “in disharmony with itself ” (Willett, 1964, p. 193). He goes so far as to say, “The coherence of the character is in fact shown by the way its individual qualities contradict one another” (Willett, 1964, p. 196). Mother Courage, for example, is by turns courageous and cowardly, tenacious and pliant, harsh and loving. This dialectical technique appears in virtually all elements of his plays, perhaps most obviously in the bifurcated character Shen Te/Shui Ta of The Good Person of Szechwan, and in the drunk/sober Puntila of Herr Puntila and His Man Matti. Thus the actor must always act out what Brecht calls the “not . . . but” (Willett, 1964, p. 137): the actor performs a certain act, but that act must always imply “what he is not doing.” To

cite Brecht’s illustration, when the actor says, “You’ll pay for that,” he does not say, “I forgive you.” All words, scenes, and characters contain their own internal contradictions. This dialectical method, then, was, from the beginning, crucial to Brecht’s dramaturgy. In effect, Brecht found a dramatic form appropriate to his belief in dialectical materialism. When collected, Brecht’s essays, speeches, interviews, descriptions of productions, and other writings, constitute a fully developed theory of theater, one of the most influential, challenging, and provocative in this century. True, Brecht has been attacked or ignored at various times and in many places. He was of course censored when the Nazis came to power, and even during the 1950s, when he was working in the German Democratic Republic, he was heavily criticized by the Socialist Unity Party for, among other things, not presenting “positive heroes” (Wolfgang Emmerich, quoted in Kruger, 1994, p. 491). In the United States Brecht’s politics have always caused concern (see Kushner, 1989). As for acting methods, American and British actors (Patterson, 1994, pp. 282–3), as well as French actors (Dort, 1990, p. 97), ap-parently prefer Stanislavski’s method to Brecht’s A-effect. In recent years Western Europe, except for England, has suffered so-called Brecht-Müdigkeit (“Brecht-fatigue”), owing, in part, to stodgy, museum-like productions such as those of the Berliner Ensemble (Brecht’s heirs have restricted experimentation). Nevertheless, Brecht’s influence has been pervasive, though, it should be said, Eric Bentley (1990) has raised serious questions on the problem of assigning influence. The Berliner Ensemble has toured a number of countries, for example, Poland in 1952, France in 1954 and 1955, England in 1956, Moscow in 1957, Venice in 1966, Toronto in 1986. During the 1970s the number of Brecht performances in the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland outnumbered those of Schiller and Shakespeare (Weber, 1980, p. 97). Brecht has influenced such directors as Peter Brook, Joan Littlewood, Andrei Serban, Roger Planchon, Ariane Mnouchkine, Giorgio Strehler, Robert Woodruff, and Robert Wilson, and such playwrights as John Arden, Edward Bond, David Hare, Robert Bolt, Caryl Churchill, Peter Weiss, Heiner Muller, Helmut Baierl, Peter Hacks,

95 experiencing a rebirth, augurs well. Naturally, directors, actors, and playwrights will continue to argue about Brecht’s ideas, and some have discarded them, but Brecht’s metatheatrical technique and the dialectical nature of his dramatic structures, especially perhaps his rejection of essentialist views of character, his acceptance of openendedness, and his inclusion of a critical audience, make him indispensable. Brecht remains a major presence, for his revolutionary dramaturgy, tied as it is to political awareness, has changed and enlarged our ways of perceiving theatre.

Reading Bentley, Eric 1981: The Brecht Commentaries, 1943 –1980. Brooker, Peter 1988: Bertolt Brecht: Dialectics, Poetry, Politics. Cohn, Ruby 1969: Currents in Contemporary Drama. Esslin, Martin 1959 (1971): Brecht: The Man and His Work. Fuegi, John 1972: The Essential Brecht. Hill, Claude 1975: Bertolt Brecht. Mews, Siegfried, ed. 1989: Critical Essays on Bertolt Brecht. Mueller, Roswitha 1989: Bertolt Brecht and the Theory of Media. Speirs, Ronald 1987: Bertolt Brecht. Suvin, Darko 1984: To Brecht and Beyond: Soundings in Modern Dramaturgy. Thomson, Peter, and Sacks, Glendyr, ed. 1994: The Cambridge Companion to Brecht. Willett, John 1959: The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht: A Study from Eight Aspects.

tucker orbison

Bremond, Claude (1929–) French narratologist. Bremond interrogates the work of the Russian structuralist Vladimir Propp on folktales. For Bremond the structuralist critic should pay attention to possible meanings other than those offered by the literary work. He theorizes that Texts contain points at which choices are made, the plot changes, or characters develop. By using the linguistics of Saussure, of differential relations, he sees these points as producing meaning through the very choices which are excluded.

Reading Bremond, Claude 1973: Logique du récit. Propp, Vladimir 1958: Morphology of the Folktale.

paul innes

Bremond, Claude

Athol Fugard, and Dario Fo. American troupes, such as the Living Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and the Women’s Experimental Theater have used Brechtian techniques. Scholarly interest in Brecht remains high: the annual bibliography in Modern Drama listed 66 Brecht items in 1992, 114 in 1993. The Brecht Yearbook, published by the International Brecht Society, gives essays on sources, theory, and interpretation, as well as book reviews. Critics continue to discover productive approaches to both theory and plays, especially along the lines of Feminist criticism (for example, The Brecht Yearbook, vol. 12, 1983; Diamond, 1988; Geis, 1990; Reinelt, 1990; Laughlin, 1990; Smith, 1991); and film study (for example, Willett, 1983; Copeland, 1987; Byg, 1990; Kleber and Visser, 1990). Brecht’s relation to Postmodernism has been studied by Wright (1989), Silberman (1993), and Solich (1993). A 30-volume edition of Brecht’s work has been under way since 1989, published by Suhrkamp Verlag (Frankfurt) and Aufbau Verlag (Berlin and Weimar), and the collected plays have been published by Vintage. Issues of journals have focused on Brecht: for example, Tulane Drama Review, 6 (1961); The Drama Review (TDR), 12, no. 1 (fall 1967); The Drama Review (TDR), 24, no. 1 (fall 1980); Theatre (Yale), 17 (spring 1986); Theatre Journal, 39 (1987); and Modern Drama, 31 (1988). The March 1993 issue of Theatre Journal, titled “German Theatre after the F/Wall,” examines the state of German drama, and the situation of Brecht in particular, since November 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall appears to have had, so far, little effect per se on the way Brecht’s theory has been perceived. True, some believe that because Communism appears to have been discredited, Brecht’s politics have become irrelevant (see the discussion, pro and con, in Eddershaw, 1991, pp. 303–4), but one might well argue that as long as social inequity characterizes modern life, Brecht’s goal of changing society will continue to require consideration. The extent to which feminist and postmodern approaches will shift our views of Brecht’s theory and practice remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Silberman’s report (1993, p. 19) that Berlin has provided financial support for the Berliner Ensemble, which, under new management committed to innovation “in Brecht’s spirit,” is


96 bricolage A term associated with Claude LéviStrauss, referring to the use of a roughly suited conceptual tool when no other means is available. In The Elementary Structures of Kinship, Lévi-Strauss (1969, pp. 2–4) defines “nature” as that which is universal, spontaneous, and not dependent on a particular culture or norm; and “Culture” as that which is dependent on a System of socially regulating norms and which varies from one social structure to another. Nevertheless, having established this distinction between nature and culture, he proceeds to discuss incest prohibition, which appears to be both universal and natural, and normative and cultural. Although in a sense scandalously inadequate, the nature/culture distinction is nevertheless indispensable and its use an instance of bricolage. Derrida escalates the applicability of the term by observing that, if bricolage is the necessary borrowing of concepts from an incoherent or ruined heritage, then “every discourse is bricoleur” (1978, p. 285).

Reading Derrida, Jacques 1967b (1978): Writing and Difference. Lévi-Strauss, Claude 1949 (1969): The Elementary Structures of Kinship.

michael payne

British Film Institute Founded in 1933 amid bitter debate about the role of film education and film culture in Britain. Since then, it has had to struggle to maintain its independence as an institution that exists essentially within the public sphere, in the face of industry pressure and changing government policies. Throughout its history it has played a crucial innovative role in film culture. One of the Institute’s first responsibilities was to set up a National Film Library (the origin of the present National Film and Television Archive). It also took over the journal Sight and Sound in 1934, and created an exhibition wing with the foundation of the National Film Theatre in 1952. From its inception, the BFI has been concemed with defining and promoting film education and it is primarily through these activities that its work has made a unique contribution to the development of film theory. Intellectual innovation and debate has always benefited from the backing and dissemination

available through the BFI’s different activities, most particularly the film distribution library, publishing, and the specialized information service and book library. In the mid-1960s the Education Department of the British Film Insitute adopted a new, dynamic policy toward film criticism and Film studies that provided a crucible for emergent film theory. It is possible to date the new initiatives from the appointment of Paddy Whannel as the Institute’s Education Officer in 1957. He then coauthored, with Stuart Hall, The Popular Arts (1964), a book whose title reflects the upheaval that his engagement with film culture would bring to the British Film Institute. The established approach to film criticism at the time is evident in the editorial policies of Sight and Sound. Sight and Sound had, particularly after 1948 when Gavin Lambert became editor, represented the best of the British tradition, concentrating its critical support and enthusiasm on the work of the international art cinema and some exceptional American films. It was under Whannel’s aegis that the Hollywood studio system cinema first came to be taken seriously in the BFI. The collaboration that produced The Popular Arts is, perhaps, symptomatic as both authors came from outside the English intellectual establishment, Whannel as a working-class Scot and Hall as an Oxford-educated Jamaican. Both were prepared to give intellectual attention and social analysis to cinema that had previously been at best critically neglected, and often received with active hostility by an elite which dismissed Hollywood as kitsch in its products and imperialist in its domination of the international entertainment market. Whannel initiated a critical concern with popular, particularly Hollywood, cinema and further confounded traditional attitudes by adopting this position with a left political commitment. It is of great importance to establish Paddy Whannel’s influence on these critical changes because he never again published. He encouraged and sustained critical polemic and passion, but it was his organizing energy that transformed ideas into policies. Most of all, he collected a group of like-minded people in the BFI Education Department. These were the writers, administrators, and educationalists who would launch the new approach to film theory. During the 1960s

97 debates from a rather different, more Leavisite position, was appointed to the first of these posts at Warwick University. This “first wave” of film theory suffered a setback when Paddy Whannel and a number of his colleagues resigned their posts in 1971 over a change in policy toward education within the BFI. However, the Education Department position had accumulated support and its work continued, while other Departments forwarded the debates through their own activities. For instance, the critical decisions that lay behind the collection of 16 mm prints and study extracts enabled Hollywood cinema to be taught, seriously and analytically, along the lines of the Education Department policy. However, the cultural atmosphere was changing in the late 1960s, opening the way for new developments in film theory. The Vietnam War and the political events of 1968 shifted attention away from Hollywood cinema, which was, in any case, going through profound crises of its own. The BFI-funded journal Screen continued, during this period, to expand and elaborate the film and theory conjuncture, particularly through Althusserian Marxism and Lacanian Psychoanalysis. While the BFI’s work with theory continued and consolidated in education and publishing, from the mid-1970s interest in film theory and Avant-garde Aesthetics started to influence production policy. With Peter Sainsbury’s appointment as Head of the Production Board in 1976, the potential of 16 mm film making as the basis for an alternative cinema brought together previously uncoordinated aspirations. Although the Production Board’s funding included films ranging from cinema vérité to the avant-garde, this period also produced work that attempted to create a theoretical cinema. Once again, the British context responded to hybrid influences, those of the New American Cinema movement represented, for instance, by Michael Snow and Hollis Frampton, and the radical European cinema represented, for instance, by Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Marie Straub/Danielle Huillet. Sainsbury’s policy funded films that responded to these trends, while also reflecting the impact of Feminism and work on representation and psychoanalytic theory. The face of independent film changed in the 1980s, responding to the impact of Channel 4 as

British Film Institute

the influence of Cahiers du Cinéma had taken root in Britain, also initiating a new interest in Hollywood. Victor Perkins, of the Movie editorial board, and Peter Wollen, who had been writing about Hollywood cinema from an auteurist perspective in New Left Review under the pseudonym Lee Russell, both joined the Education Department in 1966. It was in the subsequent years that the Education Department’s unique approach was hammered out at the BFI in seminars, screenings, and the enormously influential Education Department summer schools. Although the critical problems posed by studio system cinema were central to these debates, so was the work of pioneer film theorists such as Eisenstein and Bazin. The need to develop a policy toward education, as the basis for a future film culture, provided the context in which questions of theory were first addressed. While film criticism had traditionally depended on concepts of value that were appropriate for high cultural products, particularly those of literary criticism, films produced by the Hollywood studio system demanded a new form of criticism and a new approach to value. It was out of this intellectual challenge that the BFI Education Department turned to theories of Semiotics and Structuralism. And it was probably only in Britain that the passion for Hollywood cinema could be met with French ideas. The mix of low culture from across the Atlantic and high theory from across the Channel amounted to a slap in the face to traditional Englishness that was, in many ways, characteristic of this generation and its rejection of English isolationism and chauvinism. As the Education Department moved into publishing, Peter Wollen’s Signs and Meaning in the Cinema (1969, BFI and Secker and Warburg; reissued 1972), Jim Kitses’s Horizons West (1969, BFI and Secker and Warburg), and Colin McArthur’s Underworld USA (1972, BFI and Secker and Warburg) all represent these trends toward theorization, while also continuing to address the Cahiers issues of auteurism and genre. At the same time, the British Film Institute funded the first university appointments dedicated to film studies, which were to provide the next means of expanding these ideas to a wider constitutency and a new generation. Robin Wood, who had played an important part in the Education Department

Brooks, Cleanth

98 well as to cuts in government provision of funds. However, with coproductions, the BFI funded many directors whose work has become synonymous with British cinema today. New funding policies were designed, by the setting up of workshops, to create film-making opportunities in the regions, beyond metropolitan monopoly. The black film-making collectives (Ceddo, Sankofa, Black Audio Film Collective, Retake) began to produce work that extended and reconfigured the radical and theoretical tradition of the Production Board. During the years of Thatcherite Conservatism, the BFI had to lobby to maintain its policies. Its success is confirmed by developments that have taken place on two fronts. First of all, awareness of film, and increasingly television, has been firmly established in schools, widening the availability of the theory that was pioneered in the earlier period. Media studies are now included in the core curiculum that must be taught in all schools. This impetus is also reflected in the ideas and presentation behind the BFI’s Museum of the Moving Image, founded in 1988. Secondly, the BFI has made a commitment to wide-ranging research into new developments in the moving image culture. Drawing, for instance, on its historical collections (such as the National Film Archive, its Library, and its other resources) the BFI’s research initiatives can cut across the culture and commerce divide that haunts film and television. In 1992 the BFI established (with Birkbeck College, London University) an MA in Film and Television History and Theory that is now at the heart of its research program. The story of the BFI’s support for radical ideas and innovations, in debate and in advance of their establishment or acceptance, bears witness to the crucial contribution of public sector institutions to a culture which can also affect and inform the commercial. The year of the centenary of cinema sees the BFI working in conjunction with the film industry, and achieving a cooperation that would have been inconceivable at the time of the Institute’s birth, or even ten or so years ago. At this particular moment of history, when the very concept of the “public” has to be defended both theoretically and practically, the BFI is finding ways of keeping its tradition of conservation and innovation alive for future generations.

Reading Houston, Penelope 1994: Keepers of the Frame. The Film Archives. London: BFI. McArthur, Colin 1992: The Big Heat. London: BFI. MacCabe, Colin 1993: On the Eloquence of the Vulgar. A Justification of the Study of Film and Television. London: BFI.

laura mulvey

Brooks, Cleanth (1906–94) American critic. Brooks was the chief popularizer of New Criticism. A member of the second generation of the movement, he was not one of its seminal thinkers, describing his work as a “synthesis” of others’ ideas, but his student handbook Understanding Poetry (with Robert Penn Warren, 1938) was enormously influential in spreading the gospel of New Criticism throughout American literature departments. Modern Poetry and the Tradition (1939) and The Well-Wrought Urn (1947) are the representative critical works of the movement, and Literary Criticism: A Short History (with William K. Wimsatt, 1957) also became a standard text. Modern Poetry and the Tradition was the American equivalent of F.R. Leavis’s Revaluation (1936), an ambitious attempt to write a “Revised History of English Poetry” in terms of T.S. Eliot’s ideas, and simultaneously a spirited defense of modernist poetry. Brooks’s work aimed at a “general theory of the history of English poetry implied by the practice of the modern poets.” In other words, like Eliot and Leavis, Brooks in effect read literary history backwards, in the service of a polemic against “the scholars, the appointed custodians of the tradition.” Their dismissal of modern poetry as “difficult” and overintellectual results from their being trapped in a defunct tradition, one which runs back to Romanticism and narrow eighteenth-century conceptions of “the poetic.” In order for criticism to go forward, Brooks wants it go further back, reestablishing contact with an earlier tradition, that of the early seventeenth century, and reversing the process which “broke the tradition of wit.” There is a “significant relationship between the modernist poets and the seventeenthcentury poets of wit.” Both groups use a poetic language which expresses “mature” and “complex”

99 was written between the English Civil War and T.S. Eliot. “The ‘new criticism’, so called, has tended to center around the rehabilitation of Donne, and the Donne tradition” but now critics should look further afield and seek “paradox” elsewhere too. He now found it in Wordsworth (who had been described in Modern Poetry as “inimical to intellect”), in Keats, and even in Tennyson (“perhaps the last English poet one would think of associating with the subtleties of paradox and ambiguity”). The increase in flexibility was welcome. Nevertheless, this was still an extraordinarily blinkered way of reading English poetry, and, despite the interest and subtlety of many of Brooks’s individual close readings, it has not survived as a critical or historical theory. See also New Criticism; Eliot, T.S.; Ransom, John; Irony; Paradox.

Reading Crane, R.S. 1952: “The critical monism of Cleanth Brooks.” Guillory, John 1983: “The ideology of canon-formation: T.S. Eliot and Cleanth Brooks.” Simpson, Lewis, ed. 1976: The Possibilities of Order: Cleanth Brooks and His Works. Wellek, René 1986b: “Cleanth Brooks.”

iain wright

Bryson, Norman (1949–) British scholar of comparative studies who brings polarities from literary theory (that is, Connotation/ denotation; Syntagmatic/paradigmatic) to bear on the discipline of art history. In Word and Image, for example, Bryson examines French painting from LeBrun to David not as a succession of styles but as an interaction between the Discursive and the Figural. This view permits, for example, the painting of Chardin to be viewed not as a bad fit in the rococo style, but as a blend of the discursivity of LeBrun and the figurality of Watteau. See also Gaze; Gombrich, Ernst; Semiotics; Structuralism.

Reading Bryson, Norman 1981 (1986): Word and Image: French Painting of the Ancien Regime. —— 1983 (1988): Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze.

Bryson, Norman

attitudes, especially ironic ones, fusing intellect and feeling, as Eliot had described Donne. The greater part of the book is a demonstration of how the poet who has mastered this “serious wit” “is constantly remaking his world by relating into an organic whole the amorphous and heterogenous and contradictory.” Brooks makes a strong case although it is also one which now looks alarmingly exclusive, since it suggests that all the poets between Donne and Eliot, lacking “wit” in this very special definition, were purveyors of simpleminded emotion or equally simple-minded rationalism. The other questionable aspect of Brooks’s essay derives from the fact that it is something much more than a revisionist literary history. Like his mentors Eliot, Richards, Ransom, and Tate, and like Leavis, Brooks is out to promote a particular vision of modern history, and it is a melodramatically gloomy and Spenglerian one. He endorses Allan Tate’s descriptions of “our present disintegration,” in which the mass of the population live experientially chaotic lives. He quotes with enthusiasm Eliot’s snobbish description of “the ordinary man’s experience” as “chaotic, irregular, fragmentary” (in contrast to the mind of the witty ideal poet, which “is constantly amalgamating disparate experience”), and when he applies his Eliotic “test” of good poets – “the scope and breadth of experience which their poetry assimilates” – not just to poetry but to the reading public, he comes to “a strange and perhaps illuminating conclusion, namely that it is the public which inhabits the Ivory Tower, separating its emotional life . . . from the actual world.” A strange conclusion indeed, and one which throws doubt on Brooks’s (and the New Critics’) whole enterprise. The Well-Wrought Urn was published in 1947. In between the two books the 1939–45 war had intervened, and, according to Brooks, had led to increased attacks on the “difficulty” of modernist poetry. He therefore returned to the fray, with even more aggressive claims. Paradox replaced Irony and wit as the key term, and the book opens with the sweeping assertion that “paradox is the language appropriate and inevitable to poetry.” The tactic was now different, however. Realizing perhaps that this criterion would yield an even narrower definition of the one true tradition, he conceded that some poetry worth reading

Burke, Kenneth

100 —— 1984: Tradition and Desire: From David to Delacroix. —— 1989: Looking at the Overlooked: Four Essays on Still-life.

gerald eager

Burke, Kenneth (1897–1993) American literary critic. Although Burke is usually considered a liter-ary critic – he has even been hailed as the foremost critic since Coleridge – his own definition of his project was that it constituted an investigation into symbolic motivations and linguistic action in general (Burke, 1966, p. 494). Burke was a prolific writer, translator, poet, short-story writer, and novelist. By concentrating much of his attention on the effects of texts on their audience, he both expanded and refined the art of rhetoric. The fierce independence of his

thought, however, greatly limited his influence. His theoretical interests, which distinguish him from the New criticism, ranged from Psychoanalysis and linguistics to Marxism and pragmatism; but he was not systematically responsive to any of those disciplines. Nevertheless, as a model of the committed intellectual in America at a time when both political commitment and intellectualism were suspect, he has a secure place in the history of American letters. Critical assessments of his work are likely to be either fulsome or dismissive. His last major book, Language as Symbolic Action (1966), provides an excellent retrospective of his work.

Reading Burke, Kenneth 1966: Language as Symbolic Action.

michael payne


Cage, John Milton (1912–92) Musician, born in Los Angeles, California. An influential composer and a leading figure in the experimental art movements of the last half of the twentieth century, his compositions and ideas using chance, silence, and nonintentionality challenged the way music was made and heard. He wrote music in a variety of styles and investigated a vast array of compositional forms and methods of composing. His work extended beyond music to the areas of dance, painting, art, philosophy, and Poetry. His collaborators and friends included dancer Merce Cunningham, visual artists Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp, pianist David Tudor, composers Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown. Several individuals were important in Cage’s early musical and intellectual development. In the early 1930s he studied composition with Henry Cowell at the New School in New York and with Arnold Schoenberg in Los Angeles. In 1938 and 1939 he worked with Bonnie Bird’s dance company at the Cornish School in Seattle and there met Merce Cunningham, with whom he was to collaborate for the rest of his life, and for whose dance company he wrote numerous compositions. During the mid-1940s Cage began a serious study of non-Western thought. He studied Indian philosophy with the musician Gita Sarabhai, who introduced him to the writings of Ramakrishna. In the late 1940s Cage studied Zen Buddhism with

Daisetz T. Suzuki at Columbia University in New York. In 1951 he was given a copy of the Chinese Book of Changes, the I Ching, by Christian Wolff. That Text proved important for Cage’s thought and was used by him to assist the chance operations and compositional decisions required for many of his musical scores and writings. While these individuals and events helped shape his early life, his work with Schoenberg (although rather brief) produced several life-forming decisions and numerous interesting and often repeated anecdotes. Cage returned in 1934 to Los Angeles from New York and sought out Schoenberg, who agreed to give him lessons but only if he was ready to commit his life to music. Cage said that he was and he moved back to Los Angeles and began studying counterpoint with Schoenberg. Schoenberg expressed strong reservations about Cage’s musical abilities. While he found Cage to be “an inventor of genius” he did not feel he had the necessary talents or proper sense of harmony to be a composer. On being confronted with this depressing prognosis about his musical future, Cage felt even more determined to push ahead. Schoenberg told him that he would reach a point where he would hit a wall and be unable to go any further. Cage’s reply was that then he would spend his life banging his head against that wall. He had promised Schoenberg that he would devote his life to music and that is what he would do. And so he did. His complete catalogue

Cage, John Milton


Cage, John Milton

102 of compositions numbers over 200. A list of the most important would include: Credo in Us (1942), Sonatas and Interludes (1948), Williams Mix (1952), 4′33″ (1952), HPSCHD (1969), Roaratorio (1979), and Europeras 1 & 2 (1987). During his life he was internationally honored, receiving numerous artistic awards, and was commissioned by many of the most important orchestras and performing companies in the world. He authored several books including Silence (1961), A Year from Monday (1967), and Empty Words (1979); and he created many visual works, including 17 Drawings by Thoreau (1978), Ryoku (1985), and Eleven Stones (1989). He was the Charles Eliot Norton Lecturer at Harvard in 1988–9; those lectures, published in 1990 under the title I–VI, provide the best and most extensive example of a form of his poetic writing, a form he titled mesostic. While original and provocative in much of what he did, Cage’s work has roots in the early American artistic and intellectual traditions. In particular, his interests in experimentation and stretching the limits of human expression and artistic experience have important precedents in the music of Charles Ives and the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The following quotation might have come from any one of them: “let me remind the reader that I am only an experimenter. Do not set the least value on what I do, or the least discredit on what I do not, as if I pretended to settle anything as true or false. I unsettle all things. No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back” (“Circles,” Emerson). Cage’s delight in experimentation can be traced to his father, a self-employed inventor who created one of the first submarines. On numerous occasions, Cage acknowledged this influence of his father and told the story of his destined-to-be-rejected submarine. “Dad is an inventor. In 1912 his submarine had the world’s record for staying under water. Running as it did by means of a gasoline engine, it left bubbles on the surface, so it was not employed during World War I” (Silence, Wesleyan University Press, 1961, p. 12). The experimental nature of Cage’s work was often the direct result of factual necessity. His own limits, for instance, as a traditional composer (which Schoenberg had noted) forced him to

investigate individual sounds and sustained duration of sound in ways others had not, and to give less importance to the standard relationships and harmony between sounds, and thereby to imagine and explore different ways of structuring the temporal dimension of music. It was physical limitations that brought about his invention of the prepared piano. Not having enough room on a stage for more than a standard piano yet needing sound the piano could not produce led Cage (in the late 1930s) to experiment with altering the sound of the piano. He placed bolts and nuts and strips of rubber on and between the strings inside the piano, thereby producing new possibilities of sound for the standard instrument. (Some of his most beautiful music was written for the prepared piano, for example, The Perilous Night (1943–4) and Sonatas and Interludes.) For Cage, the limits and necessities of our world are best treated as occasions for experimentation and opportunities to attempt new things that have not been tried before. Much of his devotion to experimentation was due to his belief that the obstacles and restrictions of our lives should be turned to our advantage rather than accepted as reasons for failure. Experimenting with and composing for the prepared piano produced not only variable and new sounds, a new versatility, for this traditional instrument, but also made Cage realize that he had less control over the final sounds of the compositions he wrote for this new instrument. This understanding led to an interest in other kinds of compositions where the resulting sounds would be variable with each performance. He thus began to experiment with indeterminate composition by means of chance operations, a form of composition that was to mark his work like no other and was to cause many a former friend and colleague, like Boulez, to no longer feel comfortable with his work. The use of chance operations was not intended to introduce arbitrariness into musical performance, but to remove the decisions of the composer from the last stage of creation. Removing the personal desires and choices of the composer by chance operations was not intended to produce uncalculated acts of composition or a preference for random performances. If we simply do anything we wish in an arbitrary fashion, then we rely on memory or feelings or whatever is part of us at a

103 chance, and silence are important ingredients and expressions of Cage’s anarchistic way of composing and living. He sought to give all sound an equal footing and hearing in our lives; and he tried to compose and live so as “not to interfere with the music that is continuously going on around us.” His was a music that expressed the natural goodness and livability of our ordinary lives. Cage’s work created and creates much controversy. One of the recurring conflicts is often presented as that between his music and his ideas (or his philosophy). Although such a dichotomy is almost inevitably used in writings about Cage (it is used several times in this present discussion), it can be quite misleading, and it has produced an important controversy in the ways we listen to, talk about, and write about Cage’s work. There tend to be two somewhat extreme sides on this issue: one says “they can’t stand his music but his ideas are important,” and the other asserts “Cage was first and foremost a composer, not a philosopher, and to concentrate on his ideas is to demean and devalue his compositions.” James Pritchett has usefully reanimated this discussion and overlays his text on Cage with the controversy. He insists that Cage be treated as a composer and that attempts to make him a philosopher simply undermine understanding him. He writes, “it has been stated on various occasions by various authorities that Cage was more a philosopher than a composer, that his ideas were more interesting than his music.” However, asserts Pritchett, “Cage-asphilosopher is . . . an image that will not bear close scrutiny” and so he returns to what he says is “the obvious: Cage was a composer” (Pritchett, The Music of John Cage, pp. 1–3). These two positions permeate much of the writing and talk about Cage. Choosing between them fairly easily leads to a preference for the second approach. It is difficult not to agree that without a healthy dose of listening to Cage and experiencing numerous of his compositions, one is not in a very good position to talk about his work (this seems obvious but is not so in discussion about Cage). However, that position does not finally leave one satisfied for it simply overstates the point. If one ignores or downplays the philosophy in Cage’s work, then one is apt to miss questions and reflections embodied in the music

Cage, John Milton

given moment, whereas the use of carefully calculated chance operations provides an objective procedure for choosing the sounds for a composition. In much of his (especially later) work Cage sought a context of nonintentionality and removal of the personal self, and escape from the choices and desires of the self, a divorcing of the final product of composition from the conscious desires of the composer, and a coming to live with the silence (all the sounds we do not intend) of our world. Silence was another important part of Cage’s music. It was for him “all the sounds we don’t intentionally make,” and that which opens us fully to the world. It breaks the barrier between world and art in such a way that we no longer know the difference between them, and necessitates an active rather than a passive listener. Silence leads us out of the world of art and into the whole of life. It is not the opposite of sound, but the encompassing of all sound. The silence of the world was the music most preferred by Cage. “If you want to know the truth of the matter, the music I prefer, even to my own and everything, is what we hear if we are just quiet” (Kostelanetz, 1988, p. 23). The desire to encompass all sound (silence) is most fully expressed in Cage’s most talked about and notorious composition: 4′33″. It is a piece, originally written in three movements and later adopted for any duration, consisting of four minutes and thirty-three seconds (a time determined by chance operations) of silence. The piece is the sounds that naturally happen during the time of performance; it is those sounds that occur in the concert hall (people moving, chairs squeaking) and in the outside environment (car horns honking, wind blowing) that make their way to the audience’s ears. Most fully of all his compositions it represents his love and respect for the world as it is. 4′33″ expresses Cage’s feeling that the main question before us is “How quickly will we say yes?” to our lives. Such a question uncovers another important interest of Cage, that of anarchism. A fundamental assumption of anarchism for Cage was that people are generally good and capable of taking care of themselves without hierarchical arrangements of their lives by others. In order to write music the way he did, Cage said you have to assume that people are good and able to take care of and think for themselves. Experimentation,

Cahiers du Cinéma

104 which are capable of producing valuable thoughts about the nature of sound and provocations about how we live our lives, important parts of Cage’s interest. The philosopher in us all benefits from listening to Cage. When we, for instance, listen to many of his compositions and hear (encounter) his idea that things need to be themselves and that our cravings for establishing relationships between things are best given up, we experience possible life-shaping challenges. (In different language it might be said that we hear how Cage’s metaphysics places epistemology, or how his concerns with the nature of being establish and remove contexts for our attempts at knowing.) Cage’s music encourages a reshaping of the questions we ask about music, our world, ourselves, and that is a philosophical enterprise. His music usually exemplifies rather than informs but what it exemplifies must not be ignored. Attempts to dismiss Cage the musician or Cage the philosopher fail in a similar way. The second encourages and tolerates a narrowness about philosophy and Cage that we need not accept, whereas the first assumes and works with a conception of music and ideas that unnecessarily confines us. Both positions, however, importantly uncover a question that naturally and inevitably must be confronted in facing Cage: Can ideas and sounds be separated? (Can philosophy and music be themselves?) It is not hard to guess that Cage knew we unhesitatingly answer yes, rather than silently admitting we do not know.

Reading Fleming, Richard, and Duckworth, William, eds 1989: John Cage at Seventy-Five. Kostelantez, Richard 1988: Conversing with Cage. Pritchett, James 1993: The Music of John Cage. Revill, David 1992: The Roaring Silence: John Cage: A Life.

richard fleming

Cahiers du Cinéma Spanning more than four decades and composed of well over 400 issues, Cahiers du Cinéma has earned its place as one of the most influential and controversial journals of film criticism. Even today, the journal owes much of its reputation to the early days of its existence when, at the height of its popularity, Cahiers du Cinéma had a circulation of 13,000.

As George Lellis, one of many writers to devote a whole text to analyzing the journal, observes, “Cahiers du Cinéma in the early 1980s is hardly the monolithic force it was in the late 1950s or early 1960s.” In 1951 Lo Duca, André Bazin, and Jacques Doniol-Valcroze jointly edited the first issue. Within a few years, a group of young film critics who were later to become major directors of French New Wave cinema – Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, François Truffaut – joined the magazine as regular contributors. In 1954 Truffaut submitted an essay, “Une certaine tendance du cinéma français,” in which he introduced his politique des auteurs, the theory widely held within the Cahiers circle that a film bears the mark of the director, the film’s true author (auteur). The notion itself was not entirely new; years earlier, an article in Revue du Cinéma, a forerunner of Cahiers du Cinéma, expressed a similar idea. But with Truffaut’s article, the idea exploded onto the Cahiers agenda. Entwined in the auteur theory, mise en scène, a focus on the composition of individual shots rather than the effect created by cutting together many shots, became another central concept in the journal. Critics of Cahiers du Cinéma have complained that the journal gave too much credit to a select group of French and American directors experimenting with the auteur theory, and at least one American critic, John Hess, faults the journal for its partiality to films which are too much alike, all representing more or less the same world view. For several reasons, the tone of the journal changed during the early 1960s until it was only a ghost of its earlier image. Some critics today suggest that, as the auteurs of the 1950s died or retired from film making, Cahiers writers were forced to turn elsewhere for subjects of their criticism. And, as the original critics began pursuing careers as directors – experimenting firsthand with the auteur theory and mise en scène – a new group of critics, more academic than the first, altered the journal’s tone. Cahiers du Cinéma went through a slow time in the early 1960s; Godard suggested in 1962 that it no longer had any new ideas, that everyone simply agreed with each other. However, as the journal reacted to the French political turmoil of 1968, it stirred controversy anew. The controversy reached even the editorial board in 1969, when the journal


call and response A term central to Black cultural studies, which refers to the antiphonal exchange between performer and audience that characterizes a variety of black American oral forms. Occurring whenever a phrase, whether spoken, sung, or played by a solo performer, is repeated and answered by a chorus or an audience, the pattern of call and response establishes and affirms an interactive and participatory model of communication.

Reading Smitherman, Geneva 1977: Talkin and Testifyin: The Language of Black America.

madhu dubey

Camera Obscura Founded in 1974 by four women experimenting with feminist socialism and keenly interested in the relation between women and the cinema, especially Avantgarde and experimental films made by women, Camera Obscura reflects the changing theoretical beliefs of its creators. Janet Bergstrom, Sandy Flitterman, Elisabeth Hart Lyon, and Constance Penley joined the editorial board of Women and Film one year before founding Camera Obscura. “The need to begin a new review arose out of longstanding and seemingly unresolvable controversies within Women and Film,” they wrote in 1979. Camera Obscura provided a fresh outlet for their theories and a chance to practice a form of feminist socialism. For the first two years, the four women acted idealistically as a single unit, signing all of their work, whether created individually or by the team, as the Camera Obscura

Collective. By 1976, the same year in which Women and Film finally collapsed, forcing Camera Obscura to adopt the task of announcing information about women’s film activities in a section entitled “Women Working,” the founding editors realized that the collective model was not appropriate to their journal. In a later issue they wrote (collectively) that much of the audience of their first issue found the effect to be “monolithic” and to discourage the contributions of others beyond the editorial collective. For another decade the editorial collective still presided over the journal. In 1986 the editorial collective, minus Flitterman who left the journal in 1978, became simply “editors.” The editors still collaborate on the occasional article, but they now sign their own names, or combination of names, to most articles. The editors of Camera Obscura have used their journal as a place for writing about and experimenting with theories and ideologies. In their editorial for the fifth issue (Spring 1980), for example, their emphasis on feminism and the classical film, subjects which recur in issue upon issue, is undeniable: “it is clearly important for our project on the analysis of women and representation to understand the functioning of the structural and symbolic role of sexual difference in the classical film.” As with any journal so firmly planted in Ideology, Camera Obscura has not been free of criticism. The Camera Obscura editors admit openly their reverence for Jean-Luc Godard’s work; a triple issue (Nos 8–9–10, Fall 1982) is dedicated to a review of his recent work. But one critic, James Roy MacBean, writing for Quarterly Review of Film Studies, while pleased with some of the insights he finds in an otherwise “uneven volume,” faults the editors for their “relative narrowness” in interpreting one of Godard’s films. He accuses the editors, and is probably justified in doing so, of creating a “fictional world built up by the narrative” rather than interpreting the actual events of the film. Yet even after delivering some caustic blows, MacBean ends his comments with a bit of deserved flattery: “the Camera Obscura editors,” he writes, “have made a significant contribution . . . to our ongoing appraisal of the work of JeanLuc Godard.” One might also claim that the editors have made a significant contribution to feminism and film theory. tara g. gilligan

Camera Obscura

changed ownership as the result of irreconcilable conflicts within the board. Around this time, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, and Christian Metz joined the board and pushed the journal into new areas. In the post-1968 era, Cahiers du Cinéma, deeply influenced by Brecht, presented a highly politicized and theoretical agenda of an increasingly militant tone, a marked contrast to its 1950s reverence for Hollywood auteurs. Cahiers du Cinéma supported the argument that commercial films reflect the dominant Ideology of capitalism. tara g. gilligan

Canadian studies

106 Canadian studies Canadian studies consists of a body of work which treats Canadian society and Culture as its subject. It is to be distinguished from works by Canadians, such as those of Harry Johnson (economics) or Northrope Frye (literary criticism) which have contributed to general knowledge or to their individual disciplines. Considered thus, Canadian studies is only about 25 years old, although many of the most important works which comment on, or which are descriptive of, Canadian culture and society were written or created decades before the late 1960s. It also follows that the work to be included should not be limited to that of Canadians but must also include the considerable body of work done by non-Canadian scholars. Perhaps the event which was most crucial to the birth of Canadian studies was US participation in the war in Vietnam and the concomitant reaction to it by many Canadian intellectuals. Owing to the physical proximity to the United States and to an intense debate about Canada’s role in that conflict, there was a profound examination of Canada as a nation and a serious effort to discern what was distinctive about Canada, and indeed, what differentiated it specifically from the United States. This quest for Canadian uniqueness was further stimulated by publication of a study by Ronald and Paul Wonnacott extolling the benefits of a free trade pact between Canada and the United States, a work which gave birth to a vast number of specialized and econometric studies promoting this scheme. For the rapidly growing Canadian nationalist movement continental free trade was synonymous with de facto absorption of Canada into its larger neighbor, a perception such a policy measure would have on the Canadian economy. The reaction of Canadians to these threats to their sense of self spanned the political spectrum. The Tory-heroic vision to Donald Creighton’s biography of Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald (1952 and 1955), George Grant’s Lament for a Nation (1965), and poet Dennis Lee’s Civil Elegies (1968) was matched on the left by the work of economists Mel Watkins, Kari Levitt, and Abraham Rotstein, and by a long list of cultural nationalists. Liberal historian Frank Underwood had earlier provided a metropolitanbased alternative for Canada to American historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier

thesis” and, with The Vertical Mosaic (1965), John Porter gave a Canadian counter to the American “melting pot,” one which was later to give rise to the Department of Multicultural Affairs of the national government. From the American Revolution onwards, many Canadians had always seen their nation as an alternative to their southern neighbor; an alternative which had its basis in Canada’s origins as a colony of France and then of England. Many aspects of the social institutions, the law, and the culture of Quebec, which retained a distinctly non-North American character, and Canada’s parliament, preference for political evolution rather than revolution, and the less individualistic social values were appreciated for their nonUS character. However, as the post 1939–45 war realities of national power and the feasibility of international linkages with the United Kingdom became apparent, the power of these colonial identifications weakened markedly. The universities became a central battlefield between those who sought to hire faculty according to their traditional practices and those who, endorsing the work of Robin Mathews and James Steele (“The universities: take-over of the mind,” 1970), held that these traditional practices resulted in far too many foreign professors and far too many classes with little or no “Canadian content.” The year 1975 saw publication of the so-called Symons Report (To Know Ourselves), in which a plea was made that increased curricular attention and funding be given to the study of Canadian society and culture at all levels of Canadian education. This proposal was instrumental in gaining support for Canadian studies both in Canada, through the office of the Secretary of State, and internationally, through the Department of External Affairs. The Secretary of State supports Canadian studies at all levels of education within Canada, and, among its other activities, it issues an extensive listing of curricular materials and publications relating to Canadian studies. The Canadian studies community has developed into an extensive network of national associations in 16 countries in all parts of the world, including China, Japan, India, and Russia, as well as the major nations of North America and Europe. The International Council for Canadian Studies (located in Ottawa) has served the needs

107 dominated until recently by the need to come to terms with the forest, lakes, prairies, and mountains in which Canadians lived their lives. Cities were secondary. The Group of Seven painters portrayed the landscape as awesome and indifferent, but engaging in ways which were quite unlike that of painting in England, France, or the United States. Canadian writers, such as Gabrielle Roy (The Tin Flute, 1945), had often set their works in Canada’s cities, but for Canadianists more of the Canadian psyche, at least in its Anglophone version, was to be found in the rural settings of the novels of W.O. Mitchell (Who Has Seen The Wind, 1974), Margaret Lawrence (The Stone Angel, 1964), Rudy Wiebe (The Temptations of Big Bear, 1973), and Robert Kroetsch (Studhorse Man, 1970), the short stories of Alice Munro, or in poetry such as Douglas LePan’s “A country without a mythology” (1953). Indeed several important writers, such as Margaret Atwood (Surfacing, 1972), Marian Engel (Bear, 1976), and Aritha van Hirk (Tent Peg, 1981), give their primary characters a profound experience with the wilderness. Following Gabrielle Roy, writers in the French language of recent decades, such as Roger Lemellin (The Town Below, 1948), MarieClaire Blais (A Season in the Life of Emmanuel, 1965), and Jacques Godbout (Knife on the Table, 1965) have tended to place their works in the urban settings of Montreal or Quebec City. In the social sciences physical space had also had a dominant influence, with the “staples approach” of Harold Innis shaping the understanding Canadians had about the development and functioning of their economic and political institutions. The nation-building policies of the national government during the nineteenth century, known as National Policy (1879), focused policy initiative on establishing control over the land mass north of the 49th parallel, in competition with an expansionist United States, setting and establishing claim to the national territory, and producing and marketing its primary products. Immigration led to the strong and concentrated ethnic communities, especially in the West, which became Porter’s mosaic. Beyond Canada’s borders, the country was seen as a small relatively developed nation where one could observe and evaluate experimentation with flexible exchange rates, or metropolitanwide governance, or modifications of social

Canadian studies

of these member associations since 1981. Most of the associations have their own journals and conferences. Much of the network receives some financial support from the Department of External Affairs, in addition to funding from foreign universities, foundations, and corporations. The first (1971), and the largest (with 1,500 members), of the national associations was the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States. Given the proximity of the United States to Canada, the political and sovereignty concerns of Canadians since the late 1960s, and the interest in cross-border issues, it is perhaps natural that scholars in the United States should have been the first to give attention to Canadian studies. Strong associations soon followed in the United Kingdom (1975), France (1976), Italy (1977), and the German-speaking countries (1980), as well as in Canada itself (1973). Canadian studies has had a checkered existence in Canada, as the study of Canada permeates much of what traditional scholars in Canada do. It has also been argued, more as an assertion than as a proven hypothesis, that support for Canadian studies abroad diverts funding from non-Canadian studies scholarship at home. Others have argued that scholarship done outside Canada is of lower quality than that done by Canadian scholars. But this argument is not unique to Canadian studies, and in addition one must evaluate the objectives of non-Canadian scholars as well as the impact of scholarship done abroad, both on the understanding internationally of Canada as a culture and a society and on Canada’s perceived status abroad. Being accepted in international organizations as an important member has long been an objective of Canada’s foreign policy, and one can argue that being seen as a nation with an internationally recognized literature and art, and as an important subject of social science research contributes toward that end. It is in recognition of this fact that the mandate for support for Canadian studies outside Canada has been given to the Department of External Affairs, rather than to the Secretary of State or the Canadian Council. It has long been stated that Canada is long on geography and short on history. An exaggeration to be sure but topography, space, and climate have had powerful influences on all disciplines which examine Canada. Both literature and Art were


108 welfare systems, or other policies which subsequently might be adopted elsewhere. Since the the 1914–18 war, public policy scholars have given much attention to Canada’s distinctive international role. In international relations Canada has been portrayed as the primary example of a “middle power” which is uniquely able to play a constructive role in international peacekeeping through its participation in several United Nations forces. Political scientists are intrigued with Canada as the smaller participant, with the United States, in a “disparate dyad,” in which the small country must seek to further its own national interest and sovereignty while linked powerfully with a large partner. Economists have found Canada to be a superb economy for study of the impacts of trade liberalization, especially on a regional basis with the United States and now with Mexico. For constitutional specialists, Canada’s efforts to resolve its considerable tensions aver minority language rights, its never-ending federal–provincial and regional power-sharing disputes, its land claims disputes with native peoples, and its recent implementation of a Charter of Rights have made Canada a stimulating subject of study. During the past decade some of these original conceptualizations of Canadian studies have broken down, largely owing to the fact that Canadian culture and society themselves have been transformed. This is seen most clearly in the growth of importance of Canada’s major cities in relation to the forest, prairies, and small towns which had earlier captured the attention of Canadianists. Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver have become exciting internationally engaged cities, contrasting with their dowdy, dull, and parochial images of earlier years. As a consequence, Canadian painting has become more fully integrated in international movements (Jean-Paul Riopelle and Emile Borduas), writers such as Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, and Michael Ondaatje have chosen urban settings for their works of fiction, and social scientists have focused their attention more on urban economies, manufacturing, and business and financial services, and less on agriculture and staples development. Native Americans have emerged from the landscape to become a distinct community and voice, and a powerful political force which can no longer be overlooked.

As a consequence of this, Canadian studies has expanded in focus beyond literature, history, political economy, and geography to include such specialized areas such as comparative urban development, the rights of native peoples, environmental policies, feminist literary and social criticism, cross-border policy issues and constitutional reform. However, in all of these areas the reality of the Canadian culture and society which is being studied continues to be marked by the country’s “northernness,” its proximity to the United States, its French and English colonial past, its geographic dimensions and characteristics, its distinctiveness as a player on the world’s political stage, and the sociological characteristics of its population.

Reading Atwood, Margaret 1972: Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. Hurtig, Mel (Publ.) 1985: The Canadian Encyclopedia. Clement, Wallace, and Williams, Glen, eds 1989: The New Canadian Political Economy. International Council for Canadian Studies 1992: International Directory of Canadian Studies. Lipset, Seymour Martin 1990: Continental Divide: The Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada. Lord, Barry 1974: The History of Painting in Canada: Towards a People’s Art. Metcalf, William 1982: Understanding Canada. Symons, T.H.B. 1975: To Know Ourselves: The Report of the Commission on Canadian Studies.

peter karl kresl canon A collection or list of texts that are thought to be inspired or authoritative. Following from its primary definition of “canon” as “a rule, law, or decree of the Church; esp. a rule laid down by an ecclesiastical Council,” the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines the term in a second sense, which in English has been used since 1382, as “the collection of books of the Bible accepted by the Christian Church as genuine and inspired” and by analogy (since 1870) as “any set of sacred books.” Although it is tempting to link the primary and secondary definitions of “canon” by assuming that the New Testament, for example, came into being by a rule laid down by an ecclesiastical Council’s determination of a restrictive list of texts, the historical process was quite otherwise. Nevertheless, much


Reading Campenhausen, Hans von 1972: The Formation of the Christian Bible.

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr 1988: Foreword to Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South. —— 1992: Loose Canons. Kermode, Frank 1985: Forms of Attention. —— 1988: History and Value. —— 1990: Poetry, Narrative, History. Payne, Michael 1991: “Canon: New Testament to Derrida.”

michael payne Caribbean studies The Caribbean is that archipelago of countries curving gently from the tip of Florida in the north to the northernmost point of the South American continent. Its complex geopolitics allows for the inclusion of Guyana and arguably Venezuela as Caribbean territories, although they are part of the South American continent rather than islands. Its ideological and political diversity allows for the inclusion of Cuba. A history of Conquistadorial acquisitiveness, slavery, indentureship, colonialism, and the socioeconomic fallout from a declining empire has precipitated the diverse ethnic and racial admixture for which the region has become known. There is also great linguistic diversity for an area so small in global context. Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and their “New World” configurations, Papiamentu, Haitian language, St Lucian kweyol, Jamaican language, Rasta talk (to list just some of the indigenous linguistic configurations) mark this part of the globe as among the obvious choices for critiques which address cultural diversity. As a result of what might be seen as a potentially fortuitous future thrown up ironically by a callous and often brutish past, the Caribbean has privileged countless hypotheses, theses, speculations, and indeed its fair share of superficial commentary by providing raw material for conscientious analysis and spurious scholarship alike. The region’s nominal history of conquest, exploitation of natural and human resources, and subjugation by the myopia of eurocentricity brought Africa, Asia, and Europe together in this part of the so-called New World. Since this “meeting of cultures” did not occur in a mutually beneficial context, reflecting epistemological tolerance and respect, the challenge for the Caribbean has been to reconstruct itself out of the tragedy of its inauspicious beginnings. Caribbean studies as a discipline or perhaps more accurately

Caribbean studies

recent debate about canonical and noncanonical secular literature rests on such a false analogy, which Henry Louis Gates, Jr, set out to correct in his Foreword to the Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers (1988, p. xviii): “Literary works configure into a tradition . . . because writers read other writers and ground their representations of experience in models of language provided largely by other writers to whom they feel akin.” The history of the New Testament canon does not serve the argument that canons are formed to exclude diversity. The crucial event that precipitated the formation of the New Testament was the failed effort of Marcion (c.ad 140) to purge Christian scripture of its Jewish inheritance (von Campenhausen, p. 148). Thinking he saw an irreconcilable antagonism between the Law and the Gospel and thus between Judaism and Christianity, Marcion and his followers denounced the non-Pauline epistles and all the gospels but Luke, which also required careful editing to remove its Jewish elements. Although Marcion’s beliefs are known mainly from Irenaeus’s Contra Haereses, his efforts to produce a single-voiced testament led to the plurivocivity of the New Testament, with its four gospels and interargumentative Pauline and non-Pauline epistles (see Biblical studies). In Forms of Attention (1985) and History and Value (1988), Frank Kermode has argued that pluralism has sustained the vitality of the literary canon. He admits, however, that this may be the “soft view” of canons. The “hard view” would then be attentive to the politics of interpretation, which associates canons with networks of institutions that may be viewed as oppressive (1990, p. 75). Here the relevant modern institutions seem to be publishing houses, school and university curricula, and such professional academic organizations as the Modern Language Association. Rather than thinking of canons as fixed or closed lists of texts, it may be more fruitful to ask, “By what means do we attribute value to works of art, and how do our valuations affect our ways of attending to them?” (Kermode, 1985, p. xiii). See also Value in literature.

Caribbean studies

110 as an interdisciplinary endeavor might be defined as the study and analysis of this region’s coming into being, its modes of representation, and its strategies of survival and cultural reproduction. Such an obviously vast and complex interdisciplinary terrain is beyond the scope of this brief discussion. As a result, our discussion here will seek to present a rough sketch of aspects of the region’s cultural diversity and focus in a general manner on some of the significant literary manifestations of Caribbean cultural identity. Representations of Caribbean Culture might be said to fall into two camps. There are those who, like M.G. Smith, argue for cultural pluralism in the Caribbean (see, for example, Smith’s The Plural Society in the British West Indies) and those who argue for creolization or cultural admixture, like Edward Kamau Braithwaite (see, for example, Braithwaite’s The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica: 1770–1820). The former position sees the Caribbean existing in an uneasy tension of cultural groupings, held together by external political and economic forces rather than by internal cohesiveness. The latter position represents Caribbean cultural reality as an admixture where, certainly in Braithwaite’s view, ex-African cultural vestiges underpin Caribbean cultural diversity. Despite the sometimes radically different approaches to analyses and representations of Caribbean cultural diversity which still tend to revolve around these two early positions, most assessments of Caribbean reality generally endorse the view expressed by Rex Nettleford: If the people of the Caribbean own nothing else, they certainly can own their creative imagination which, viewed in a particular way, is a powerful means of production for much that brings meaning and purpose to human life. And it is the wide variety of products emanating from the free and ample exercise of this creative imagination which signifies to man his unique gift of culture. (Nettleford, 1978)

This creative imagination has been the mainstay of Caribbean peoples. It has ensured their survival through centuries of physical atrocities and material deprivation. With Anansi-like imaginative dexterity, they have wielded this metaphysical weapon of the weak to create being out of nothingness and personhood out of “otherness.”

Perhaps the material symbol par excellence of this cultural creativity is the steel pan, a “New World” musical instrument fashioned from the discarded oil drum, in the hills of Laventille, Trinidad. Indeed Laventille itself might be seen as a symbol of that typically urban, social castaway, the ghetto. Out of these two discards, the “useless” oil drum and the “useless” ghetto, arises the steel pan as a twentieth-century reaffirmation of the indomitable spirit of Caribbean cultural creativity. This reaffirmation of the spirit of survival and creativity symbolized by the steel pan provides Trinidadian novelist Earl Lovelace with the narrative map for his novel The Wine of Astonishment. In similar fashion, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer create a haunting union of lyric and beat out of the “nothingness” of a Kingston, Jamaica ghetto, yet another “New World” cultural creation which would see Marley’s name and music internationalized with such evangelistic fervor that the signifiers “Bob Marley” and “Reggae” resonate with the authority of synecdoche across national and linguistic boundaries to conjure up representations of the Caribbean. Challenged to construct personhood in the hostile, ontological wasteland of plantation America, Caribbean peoples have repeatedly defied historical odds and stereotypical representations of themselves as lack and void. Whether as Toussaint L’Ouverture, rising out of slavery to challenge Europe’s greatest generals and create the possibility for Haiti to become the first black independent state in the so-called New World, or as Garfield Sobers, rising out of the obscurity of humble beginnings in diminuitive Barbados to revolutionize and dominate the Commonwealth game of cricket, Caribbean peoples have, for a long time, salvaged their being from discarded nothingness. The institutionalized study of Caribbean issues and affairs is perhaps most obviously embodied in the region by the University of the West Indies (UWI), and in the “diaspora” by the Caribbean Studies Association. Established in 1948, partly as the colonial response to an increasingly restless and dissatisfied colonized population, the UWI has nurtured and been influenced by such figures as George Beckford, Derek Walcott, Orlando Patterson, Walter Rodney, Sir Philip Sherlock, Edward Kamau Braithwaite, Gordon Rohlehr,

111 The traditional “organic intellectuals” of the region, the calypsonians provide a sense of the historical and contemporary struggles of Caribbean peoples through the popular medium of the calypso. Fine artists such as Edna Manley, Karl Broodhagen, and Stanley Greaves capture the traces of the indomitable Caribbean spirit in stone and on canvas. Rhythm poets like Mutabaruka, Jean Binta Breeze, Linton Kwesi Johnson, the late Mikey Smith, Winston Farrell, and Adisa Andwele capture the historical and contemporary anguish of Caribbean suffering and resistance in their poetry. The “mother” of them all, Louise Bennett-Coverly, smiled at Caribbean idiosyncrasy and satirized eurocentric foibles in her “rhythm” poetry long before either the form or content of such creativity was deemed serious and respectable. Similarly, Joe Tudor and Alfred Pragnell were exploring the artistic merit of oral tradition and folk humor before such activity was generally recognized as evidence of cultural and artistic creativity. In short, the Caribbean has never lacked the unfathomable resource of the creative and critical imagination, though it has lacked and still lacks much materially, at least from the perspective of the mass of ordinary folk comprising most of its population. Privileging the power of the creative imagination as a resource is not tantamount to romanticizing the Caribbean. This is the resource which allowed Caribbean peoples to survive the material deprivation and psychological trauma of slavery, indentureship, and colonialism. It is the resource by which the Caribbean protects and sustains itself into the twenty-first century, despite claims to the contrary made by technocracy at the altar of technology. Caribbean studies is therefore essentially the study of this phenomenon, the Caribbean creative imagination.

Reading Braithwaite, Edward Kamau 1978: The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica: 1770–1820. Césaire, Aimé 1972: Discourse on Colonialism. Devonish, Hubert 1986: Language and Liberation: Creole Language Politics in the Caribbean. James, C.L.R. 1938: The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Saint Domingo Revolution. —— 1977: The Future in the Present. Lewis, Gordon K. 1968: The Growth of the Modern West Indies.

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Rex Nettleford, Kenneth Ramchand, Elsa Goveia, Sir Frank Worrell, and a host of other intellectual workers whose steadfast vocation has been the Caribbean. It is ironically appropriate, given the Caribbean’s history of creating value out of the resource of the mind, the creative imagination, that the site of the first of UWI’s three campuses is located on a former plantation in Jamaica. A place of material deprivation and tortured disposession, signified by slavery and indentureship, transformed into a place where Caribbean peoples would grapple with a colonial past and move beyond it to address the complexities of a postcolonial future. The Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) is an organization of academics and other intellectual workers who came together in 1975 because they shared an interest in the study of the Caribbean. Since the first conference in Puerto Rico, the group has met annually in places such as Grenada, Barbados, Martinique, Jamaica, and other areas of the Caribbean. Another smaller group devoted to the study of the Caribbean is the Association of Caribbean Studies. This group, aware of the importance of regional links to the diaspora as well as ancestral homelands, has held conferences in several extraregional locations including the African continent. At the Jamaica campus of the UWI there is the Institute of Caribbean Studies which publishes a monthly newsletter about books, projects, conferences, and other items and activities related to Caribbean studies. In addition to these institutional approaches to the study of the area, there are of course the critical contributions of intellectuals who have worked outside of institutional frameworks for the most part. The creative and critical work of C.L.R. James is essential to any conscientious understanding and critical interpretation of the history and culture of this region. The fiction of George Lamming, Jean Rhys, Wilson Harris, Samuel Selvon, Erna Brodber, and several other anglophone Caribbean novelists might be considered essential reading in order to gain insight into the narrative construction of West Indian personhood. Similarly, the work of Alejo Carpentier, Aimé Césaire, Jacques Roumain and others provides a window into the physical and metaphysical struggles of embattled personhood from the hispanophone and francophone perspectives.

Castoriadis, Cornelius

112 —— 1983: Main Currents in Caribbean Thought: The Historical Evolution of Caribbean Society in Its Ideological Aspects 1492–1900. Nettleford, Rex 1978: Caribbean Cultural Identity: The Case of Jamaica. Smith, M.G. 1965: The Plural Society in the British West Indies.

glyne a. griffith Castoriadis, Cornelius (1922–1997) French political/social theorist and psychoanalyst. Though born in Constantinople and educated in Athens, Castoriadis lived in France from 1945. He founded the influential left-wing journal Socialisme ou Barbarie in 1949. Castoriadis began as a Marxist theorist interested in the questions of bureaucratic capitalism. His early contention that management by workers could serve as a check to Stalinism was confirmed by the events of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Castoriadis then went on to conduct a systematic inquiry into the foundations of Marxism. This resulted in a rejection of the Marxist shibboleths of materialism and determinism. Castoriadis saw that the deterministic strain in Marxism was incompatible with Marx’s own call for the autonomy of revolutionary action. Castoriadis argued that it was time to choose between loyalty to a Discourse that had outworn its usefulness and the need to remain a revolutionary. He advanced instead a conception of the social-historical. By this he meant the world of human action that would not be restricted to a narrow conception of the political. The revolutionary project itself had to be decentered into a quest for autonomy in which all could participate. Such a project would have to move away from traditional teleologies of time that are deterministic. Castoriadis distinguishes between homogeneous and heterogeneous modes of temporality in capitalism. It is precisely this difference between the time of consolidation and crisis that distinguishes capitalism from other modes of economic organization. All societies, however, misrecognize the tension between the different modes of temporality by which they are constituted. This is, however, not a matter of “ontological necessity.” The revolutionary agenda is predicated on the possibility of being able to switch between modes of temporality. The permutational possibilities of the socialhistorical depend on the “social imaginary.” The

imaginary is not a mere reflection of some preexistent reality. It is instead the very condition of possibility for a relation between the object and the image. The imaginary institutes the moment of singularity in any sociohistorical formation. It functions as a minimal coupling of signifier– signified without which it would not be possible to articulate the differences between what matters and what does not in any given epoch. The social imaginary cannot be reduced to a set of impersonal rules; the belief that it can be reduced to one is the illusion of theory. There is no such thing as a “rigorously rigorous theory” even in mathematics, let alone in politics. Hence the ethical necessity of admitting responsibility for any theory that is advanced by the theorist. The theorist cannot retire to his study and submit everything to systematic doubt. He/she is always already constituted through the social. That which is opposed to the social is not the individual Subject but the psyche. Castoriadis advances the notion of a psychical monad. The monad is torn open only by socialization. But then again the social imaginary is accessed only through the psyche. A relation of mutual supplementarity is posited between the two. Castoriadis brings a similar claim to bear on the scientific claims of Psychoanalysis. Neither psychoanalysis nor political theory can hope to become a science. These discourses are organized by fields of transference where the identity of the author continues to matter. Whereas the rough notes of a Newton or Einstein do not matter to the validity of their theories, it would not be possible to maintain the same claim in the case of, say, Freud’s correspondence with Wilhelm Fliess. Referring to Lacan’s comment that he had “discovered” Freud, Castoriadis writes that scientists discover things and not other scientists. Dirac did not claim to have discovered Planck but the positive electron. Psychoanalysis should not trap itself in the desire to be a science but should recognize that it cannot be anything more than a “practicopoetic” activity. Psychoanalysis does not actualize either the faculties or the potential of a Subject directly; it seeks instead to actualize “a potential of the second degree, a capacity of a capacity to be.” Psychoanalysis then, despite being confronted with the real, must come to terms with the impossibility of its formalization. Castoriadis’s critique of Lacan stems precisely


Reading Castoriadis, Cornelius 1984: Crossroads in the Labyrinth. —— 1987: The Imaginary Institution of Society. —— 1991: Philosophy, Politics, Autonomy. —— 1993: Political and Social Writings.

shiva kumar srinivasan

Cavell, Stanley (1926–) Philosopher, born in Atlanta, Georgia, professor of Aesthetics and the general theory of value at Harvard University. His extensive writing is greatly influenced by his teacher J.L. Austin and by the twentieth-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Hearing Austin give the William James lectures at Harvard in 1955 (later published in 1962 as How To Do Things With Words) caused Cavell to stop work on his dissertation and to choose a different path of research and topic for study. (That decision would delay the completion of his dissertation, The Claim to Rationality, until 1961.) His reading of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations revealed a philosophy that was novel in its manner of Writing and grounded in a Kantian and transcendental spirit of inquiry, both of which gave Cavell’s work a form and direction it was never to lose. Cavell was one of the earliest to note the Kantian spirit in Wittgenstein’s work – see his essays “Must we mean what we say” and “The availability of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy”

– and to give Austin serious hearing in philosophical contexts; see his “Austin at criticism” (Cavell, 1969). His writings also include published texts on Shakespeare’s plays and skepticism (Disowning Knowledge, 1987), on film study and the kind of object film presents to aesthetic inquiry (The World Viewed, 1979), and on Thoreau and Emerson and the need to recover the sometimes intentionally severed and largely neglected tradition of American philosophy they initiated (The Senses of Walden, 1972). Throughout these writings there is often expressed a desire to recognize the destruction wrought by dualistic conceptions of ourselves and our relations to others, and similarly to bridge the gap, to keep conversations open, between AngloAmerican and Continental philosophy. Cavell’s work is most fully constituted by his Claim of Reason (1979). It is the one indispensable text for understanding and appreciating him. All the areas addressed in his writings are given a place in The Claim of Reason and his many recurring topics of interest are discussed there, for example, the denial by philosophy of an essential part of itself, the need to pursue self-knowledge (and thereby understand the value and limits of empirical knowledge), the hope for a facing of, and finally a living of, skepticism. While these topics are closely interrelated in Cavell’s work and give way to numerous other concerns, they none the less can usefully serve as nodal points for engaging his writings. The Nature of Philosophy The discipline (those who are part of it) must come to recognize the need to replace pursuits of certainty and empirical groundings of being with attempts at finding and situating itself (themselves). In our philosophical reflections, we need to embrace our finitude and ordinary existence rather than flee from them. It is important to ask what our lives would be like if we accepted, rather than fought with, the truth of skepticism, with the fact that we cannot obtain infallible groundings for our concerns. Philosophy must try to keep open the threat of and temptation to skepticism, rather than give it a less destructive face, and prize the inhuman. To face skepticism is to provide interpretation of human finitude, and for Cavell, following Emerson, Austin, and Wittgenstein (among others) means understanding what is at stake in

Cavell, Stanley

from the latter’s attempt to formalize the real. He reads Lacan’s use of topological objects like the Moebius strip as an attempt to evacuate history in the impossible attempt to emulate science. And again, Castoriadis argues vehemently that the question of doctrinal transmission cannot be addressed in a formulaic mode that will not seek recourse to a natural language. What psychoanalysis, pedagogy, and politics have in common is the attempt to create autonomous individuals. Autonomy, for Castoriadis, is a state where the subject is capable of self-reflexivity and deliberation. Autonomy, however, is not an end in itself but a means to other possibilities. The politics of autonomy should transcend modes of being that are specific to psychoanalysis, pedagogy, and social consciousness such that the subject continues to draw its creativity from “the radical imaginary of the anonymous collectivity.”

Cavell, Stanley

114 inhabiting our words and the language we use. Philosophy’s task is not to defeat skepticism but to preserve it; to show why it has no end, at least none within philosophy. Cavell’s call to live our skepticism is not simply an assertion of our natural condition as knowers (our nonknowing relationship to the world and others) but to encourage a way to inhabit our condition of doubt and thereby situate our lives. We must acknowledge the truth of skepticism rather than avoid or attempt to refute it. Self-knowledge If we do accept the position on skepticism and the perspective of philosophy given by Cavell, then he believes we will see, and the philosopher in us all will see, the proper place of self-knowledge for our interests. The quest for self-knowledge is prevalent in all of Cavell’s writings and can be found investigated in each part of The Claim of Reason. Cavell attempts to uncover the motivations and reasons for traditional philosophy’s (mainly the modern period’s) rejection of the human and pursuit of self-knowledge. Philosophy, as Cavell tries to understand it, must push beyond saying that something is true or false, trying to grasp the argument, problem, or conclusion someone utters or writes. It must consider the finite human being who says what is true or false. Instead of confronting our everyday selves and work, Cavell finds that we substitute for it, exchange for it, the search for empirical knowledge (regardless of whether we believe in the final success of such knowledge). By placing self-knowledge in the forefront of the philosophical inquiry Cavell is not encouraging self-indulgence or a rejection of an objective (non-personal) perspective. One of the important themes of The Claim of Reason is that pursuit of the self reveals the other. It is not a narcissistic enterprise we engage in when seeking self-knowledge. The soul is impersonal and no matter how far we go in the investigations of the self we do not find anything special to us. Skepticism Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, says Cavell, is endlessly struggling with skepti-cism. Cavell’s own struggle with Wittgenstein’s text, as well as with the nature of philosophy and concerns with self-knowledge, lead him to conclude that we must finally see skepticisim as a part of what it is to be human.

It is that part of our being which desires and obsessively demands a relationship of knowing to the world and others, yet is unable to succeed in achieving such knowledge. (This is Cavell’s retelling of the peculiar fate of reason expressed by Kant in the opening sentence of Critique of Pure Reason.) We must not then try to refute skepticism or overcome it but learn to face it and live it, accept the fact of our intellectual, moral and ordinary finitude and limits. To live my skepticism, to face the truth of skepticism, is to recover the self and find my ordinary, human voice. As these three topics indicate, Cavell offers definite challenges to such areas as analytical philosophy, deconstructive literary theory, epistemological foundationalism. While many have avoided reading and confronting Cavell and rest undisturbed at philosophy and intellectual studies forgoing their therapeutic, self-directed dimension, others find Cavell compelling yet cannot accept his seemingly overwrought way of writing and apparent abandoning of traditional philosophical argumentation. Cavell’s writing is at times admittedly difficult and his attention to argument is to be sure not always the traditional one. Nevertheless, his writing is a far cry from argument abandonment. His way of writing encourages us to understand argument as one way of accepting full responsibilty for one’s own discourse, confessing reasons why one uses the words one does and in the manner one does. His manner (call it his method) of writing and the context of that writing exhibit an attempt at reattaching our philosophical attention to what we say and mean. Certainly many forms of philosophical investigation invite the perspectives provided in Cavell’s work (most of which Cavell cites and draws from at length), but seldom to the ends or with the consistency found in Cavell. He attempts to show us that our words often do not mean what we say, that we easily lose control of them. Our loss of control is not over what words mean but what we mean in using them when and where we do. We easily lose a sense of ourselves and the context of language use in which we speak. (Cavell finds these concerns dominating that lost philosophical tradition in America voiced by Thoreau and Emerson; he sees them underwriting the concerns of ordinary language philosophy, as it is found in Wittgenstein and Austin, and


Reading Cavell, Stanley 1979a: The Claim of Reason. Fischer, Michael 1989: Stanley Cavell and Literary Scepticism. Fleming, Richard 1993: The State of Philosophy; A Reading in Three Parts of Stanley Cavell’s The Claim of Reason. —— and Payne, Michael, eds 1987: The Senses of Stanley Cavell. Bucknell Review. Mulhall, Stephen 1994: Stanley Cavell: Philosophy’s Recounting of the Ordinary.

richard fleming

Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies A postgraduate unit of the University of Birmingham, important in the later development of Cultural studies. The CCCS, founded in 1964 within an English Department by Richard Hoggart (subsequent Directors were Stuart Hall and Richard Johnson) instigated an energetic cross-disciplinary exploration of areas within media, youth culture, education, gender, and “race.” It became widely known for its combination of engaged political critique (concerned with Ideology, Hegemony, and struggles over meanings in everyday life), work on texts but also through ethnographic studies inside a framework of political and social change, and a restless exploration of theoretical frameworks. A practice of group work and writing by staff and student members (many of whom taught and published elsewhere, so helping to register cultural studies as a space within education), resulted in a series of working papers, a journal, and various influential books. CCCS later (1988) became a Department of Cultural Studies (within Social Sciences), developing undergraduate as well as higher degrees and producing its own journal and books.

Reading Agger, B. 1992: Cultural Studies as Critical Theory. Brantlinger, P. 1990: Crusoe’s Footprints. Clarke, J. 1991: New Times and Old Enemies.

Hall, S., Hobson, D., Lowe, A., and Willis, P. 1980: Culture, Media, Language.

michael green

Césaire, Aimé (1913–2008) Martinican poet, playwright, essayist, political figure, and cofounder of negritude. In his best-known work, Notebook of a Return to My Native Land (1939), Césaire forever changed the course of Antillean literature. Whereas Césaire’s predecessors emulated classical French poetic models and hid their own cultural specificity, Césaire both depicted the evils of colonialism in Martinique and confronted stereotypical images of blacks. Armed with a surrealist aesthetic, as the title of his Miraculous Weapons (1946) implies, Césaire set out to extinguish black alienation in Martinique and to replace it with a new pride in black cultural heritage (negritude).

Reading Arnold, A. James 1981: Modernism and Negritude: The Poetry and Poetics of Aimé Césaire. Césaire, Aimé 1939 (1983): Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal (Notebook of a Return to My Native Land). Kesteloot, Lilyan 1963 (1974): Black Writers in French. A Literary History of Negritude.

jeanne garane

Chicago school An influential body of sociological writing from the University of Chicago between the wars. The rapid growth and extreme diversity of Chicago combined with a concern for social reform to provide a common focus for diverse writers. Robert Park and others pioneered approaches to the study of contrasting City areas, using detailed ethnographies and life-history work to examine informal networks and shared values among even apparently “unattached” groups. Elements of future concerns with symbolic interaction, the sociology of deviance, and Subcultures were strongly present. Despite later criticism of the use of ecological metaphors for urban form, and close attention to subordinate groups which neglected Structures of power and the worlds of the powerful, the early Chicago work and that of succeeding generations have produced debate and empirical analysis important in sociology and in urban studies.

Chicago school

therefore tries to return them to a place of prominence in the philosophical tradition.) If we do not pay attention to our human forms of expression we lose ourselves (and thereby others and the world) and it is for that reason that Cavell places the attempt and the need to understand the self consistently before us.

children’s literature

116 Reading Bulmer, M. 1984: The Chicago School of Sociology. Park, R.E., Burgess, E.W., and McKenzie, R.D. 1925 (1967): The City. Shaw, C.R. 1930 (1966): The Jack-Roller: A Delinquent Boy’s Own Story. Urban Life 1983: Special issue “The Chicago school: the tradition and the legacy.”

michael green

children’s literature Books written for children readers and listeners with the intent to provide one or more of the following: moral or social instruction; amusement; imagination and curiosity; compassion and empathy; an understanding of the child’s place in the world. Children’s stories reveal much of what the individual and therefore society becomes. Each cultural group will teach their children that which they deem important and stories are very much a part of that process. A thorough understanding of cultural and critical theory cannot be fully achieved without the inclusion and careful examination of children’s literature. The discipline of cultural anthropology aims to understand and define why people behave differently from one group to another. Cultural anthropologists assert that all people have the ability to classify experiences, convert those experiences symbolically into language, art, literature, and other forms of representation, and teach these abstractions to others. Part of that teaching is through oral or written stories for youth. Since critical theory examines and critiques society and literature, children’s literature affords the first portal to the understanding of any given society and is a logical starting point for all further discourse. What is ultimately discovered is that an analysis of children’s literature demonstrates human commonality more than that which separates us. Adult attitudes have always influenced a child’s upbringing and so, too, children’s stories. Some of the earliest evidence we have of recorded children’s literature are surviving clay tablets excavated in Sumeria from the Third Ur Dynasty (2112– 1000 bc). The tablets fall into five categories: dialogues and debates; exercises for writing practice; lullabies; stories of schoolboys’ lives; proverbs and fables. Throughout known history,

at a very young age children are taught societal rules, moral principals, and more through stories, legends, folklore, Fairy tales, and songs. This exchange lays the groundwork for the child to understand the customs of their culture, what is expected of them, what is good and evil, and ultimately to help the child to understand who they are and how they fit into their society. Children’s stories are also meant to entertain and enchant, both for amusement, to foster imagination, and to assist the child by providing hints for dealing with life’s trials. Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales provides an excellent summary point on this. Myths and fairy stories both answer the eternal questions: What is the world really like? How am I to live my life in it? How can I truly be myself ? The answers given by myths are definite, while the fairy tale is suggestive; its messages may imply solutions, but it never spells them out. Fairy tales leave to the child’s fantasizing whether and how to apply to himself what the story reveals about life and human nature. (Bettelheim, 1986, p. 45)

This purposefulness in children’s stories isn’t accidental. Whether it is a printed story that children want to read time and time again, or an oral account or song that is repeated by the adult with the intent to make certain the child remembers the messages they want to convey, children’s stories are, to a great part, a transference of societal rules, philosophies, and cultural tools that will help guide the child throughout her life cycle. Children’s stories are also meant to comfort, for childhood and life itself is fraught with fearful experiences. The goal is to gradually transform the child into a responsible adult who will play a role in the prosperity of the community. Despite the enormous diversity of cultures in the world, there are common ties that link us all together and these ties are readily addressed in many current works of children’s literature and in the fairy tales and myths that have been with us for centuries. Perhaps the most important and enduring components to powerful children’s stories are those that fire the child’s imagination. Through carefully chosen words the author paints a vivid picture of characters, places, and situations that


With Mr. Grummage leading the way I stepped finally, hesitantly, upon the deck of the Seahawk. A man was waiting for us. He was a small man – most seafaring men are small – barely taller than I and dressed in a frayed green jacket over a white shirt that was none too clean. His complexion was weathered dark, his chin ill-shaven. His mouth was unsmiling. His fingers fidgeted and his feet shuffled. His darting, unfocused eyes, set deep in a narrow ferret-like face, gave the impression of one who is constantly on watch for threats that might appear from any quarter at any moment. (Avi, 1990, p. 16)

Children’s literature creates indelible images that stay with the child throughout their life. Some children’s stories are intentionally specific to the child’s culture and/or religion, promoting that which the adult and their group affiliation wish the child to learn. The more powerfully memorable and profoundly influencing stories are those that address what humans have always struggled with, regardless of where or when they lived: the struggle between good and evil, the dread of loneliness, fear of abandonment and fear of the unknown, being faced with challenges

meant for an adult, and ultimately the need to feel hope. Whether they are modern stories or those that have continued to be passed down through generations and across cultures, common themes abound, combined with excellent writing to ensure the story’s survival. Throughout the longevity of a tale, economics, politics, religion, and whatever adaptations are needed to best capture the attention of the child audience will inevitably take place, yet despite this, the core underpinnings of the story remain the same. One such model that has always been extremely successful in literature for young and old alike is the journey. Tales of heroic adventures have always been an integral part of all world cultures. Stories from around the world and from many periods of history contain common themes and thought-provoking principals. Throughout the ages, the same typical sequence is seen: the hero or heroine must go on a journey, often unwillingly. The journey is fraught with danger, trials, and illuminating revelations, thus transforming the hero or heroine’s consciousness. Assisted along the way by helpers, she or he returns from the journey with the treasure – a physical treasure, the treasure of wisdom, or both. Joseph Campbell asserts that myths address the same concerns today as they did in ancient times, further affirming that humans are, at our core, more similar than different. A current and wildly popular example of this sequence can be seen in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. Incredibly rich descriptions of characters, places, and events energize the imagination of the reader/listener as they are immersed in the adventures and trials of Harry. As he struggles against unthinkable evil to right the wrong of the world, this hero always returns (albeit by the skin of his teeth) from his journey with the treasure of enhanced wisdom, and that wisdom (for Harry and readers/listeners) is paralleled with an important lesson – the inevitability of further life challenges to come. There are other messages in the “Harry Potter” books that offer deeper meaning to the timelessness and similarities of humanity, past and present. Muggles represent dullards who plod through life unaware of magic or joy, and there are two types of wizards: wizards, like Harry, who understand their gifts and use their magic primarily to do good while sometimes tempted to do otherwise; and the

children’s literature

the child then creates in their mind. Long before the written word and, therefore, illustrated books, storytellers captured their audience with their lively recitations. The same is true today. If the story and the storyteller provide an engaging presentation both orally and in body language, illustrations aren’t necessary to captivate the audience. Through rich, full-bodied writing and distinct descriptions, listeners and readers are immediately drawn into the story and become part of it. It is imperative, though, that the child be able to connect with the story by way of an underlying identifiable conflict. Such is the case in Avi’s The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – a flawless novel for older readers/listeners that evokes sensual and powerful sights, sounds, and smells that describe a terrifying, perilous journey in 1832 for the young thirteen-year-old heroine, Charlotte, who is alone on a sailing vessel of mutinous, hardened seafaring men who resent her place among them. In describing her first impressions upon boarding the sailing vessel that would take her across the Atlantic, readers immediately sense and identify with her primal conflict – fear.

children’s literature

118 wizards that have gone to the dark side, wielding their magic to wreak havoc and evil at any cost. The themes of good versus evil are hardly new in literature or in life; the reality of this conflict is as old as the dawn of humans. Fairy tales are prime examples of such stories, and their timeless appeal is understandable: fairy tales permit the child to come to terms with the problem in a simplified, optimistic way. It is characteristic of fairy tales to state an existential dilemma briefly and pointedly. This permits the child to come to grips with the problem in its most essential form, where a more complex plot would confuse matters for him. The fairy tale simplifies all situations. Its figures are clearly drawn . . . All characters are typical rather than unique. Contrary to what takes place in many modern children’s stories, in fairy tales evil is as omnipresent as virtue. In practically every fairy tale good and evil are given body in the form of some figures and their actions, as good and evil are omnipresent in life and the propensities for both are present in every man. It is this duality which poses the moral problem, and requires the struggle to solve it. (Bettelheim, 1986, pp. 8–9)

The struggles and difficult obstacles of life are often unavoidable, and our “dark” side is always with us, like it or not. Today, many modern children’s stories fail to properly address good versus evil. Instead, these stories are sanitized, brimming with optimism, and make little or no mention of the conflicts with evil and the dark side. The result is a weak story that teaches little and in all likelihood will not survive past its first printing. On the other hand, fairy tales and other excellent children’s literature address these issues where the evildoer meets their just desserts, and the young, afraid, and unprepared child is virtuous in overcoming his trials. In some cases, though, the hero succumbs to his own dark side and may even couple with other foes in the story until he or she grows enough to recognize the errors that have been made. That is precisely what is evident in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Written in 1881, this famous and beloved work has spawned countless versions around the globe, and for good reason. The impish and naughty Pinocchio spends the vast majority of the story getting into trouble,

disobeying his father, and otherwise making one foolish mistake after another. Time and time again his father forgives him until at last Pinocchio’s lies and poor decisions separate father and son for a very long time. Despite all of Pinocchio’s obstacles, he is at last reunited with his father in the belly of an enormous shark. Seeing the old man, Pinocchio was filled with such great and unexpected joy that he became almost delirious. He wanted to laugh, to cry, and to say a thousand things, but he could only stammer out a few confused and broken words. Finally he succeeded in uttering a cry of joy and, throwing his arms around the little old man’s neck, began to shout, “Oh, my dear father! I’ve found you at last! I’ll never leave you again – never, never, never!” “Do my eyes tell me the truth?” said the little old man, rubbing his eyes. “Are you really my dear Pinocchio?” “Yes, yes, I am Pinocchio, really Pinocchio! And you have forgiven me, have you not? Oh, my dear father, how good you are! To think that I . . . Oh! But if you only knew what misfortunes have been poured upon my head, and all that has befallen me! Only imagine, the day that you, dear Father, sold your coat to buy me a spelling book so that I might go to school, I went to see the puppet show, and the Showman wanted to throw me on his fire so that I might roast his mutton. And he was the same man who later gave me five gold pieces to take to you, but I met the fox and the cat, who took me to the Lobster Inn, where they ate like wolves. And I left by myself in the middle of the night and encountered assassins . . . and I ran away . . . until they hung me from the branch of a tree called the Big Oak . . . And then I told a lie, and my nose began to grow until I could no longer get through the door of the room.” (Collodi, 2005, pp. 177–8)

At long last, Pinocchio has a change of heart, and he amends his ways. In so doing, he finds that his goodness has transformed him from a wooden puppet into a real boy, but this confuses Pinocchio and he asks his father if the change could be explained. “This sudden change is all your doing,” answered Geppetto.


A parent’s desire for their child to be good couldn’t be more universal. It is also universally true that children need to know that they are loved by their parents, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. When a child is not loved, is treated unfairly or with cruelty, or the child perceives being treated unfairly, intense loneliness and a deep sense of abandonment can ensue. The child, however, may not be emotionally equipped to express these feelings in words. Children’s literature can often offer the voice that the child needs by identifying with the characters in the stories and their pitiful situations. This is clearly seen in numerous stories, some quite old, such as Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella, others more current, such as The Secret Garden, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Crow Girl: The Children of Crow Cove, and Sheep. In these stories and the many more like them, the child who feels troubled by their circumstances will readily connect with the story as it validates and affirms what the child is feeling and ultimately assures the child that she is not alone. When a story corresponds to how the child feels deep down – as no realistic narrative is likely to do – it attains an emotional quality of “truth” for the child. The events of “Cinderella” offer him vivid images that give body to his overwhelming but nevertheless often vague and nondescript emotions; so these episodes seem more convincing to him than his life experiences. (Bettelheim, 1986, p. 237)

Ultimately, excellent children’s literature accomplishes much for the child on a variety of important levels. As the child struggles to understand life and their place in it, children’s stories offer new windows to cultivate the development of imagination, thus firing further curiosity and assisting the child to make sense of his world and extract meaning out of his existence by employing his powers of imagination that allow him to formulate possibilities. Of equal importance, children’s literature fosters the imagination and, thus, empathetic behaviors. Imagination is

fundamental to a child’s morality: the ability to imagine alternatives and consequences; free choice to envision what is going to happen. The literary category of imagination enables the reader/listener to imagine the characters and their situations, trials, joys, and struggles, and in so doing develop the ability to empathize. Humans are far more alike than what separates them in cultural nuances, and there is no better place to observe those similarities than in children’s literature. We are universally alike; in the details, we are different. Humans have always struggled with good versus evil, our fears are essentially the same, we all desire joy, to love, and be loved in return. Children’s literature addresses these common human traits and provides a place to dream and imagine. And imagination is essential to human survival. Lewis Carroll knew that well and makes a delightful case for just that in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “There is no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Reading Adams, Gillian 1986: The First Children’s Literature? The Case for Sumer. Avi 1990: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Bettelheim, Bruno 1976 (1986): The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Collodi, Carlo 1881 (2005): The Adventures of Pinocchio. Fox, Mem 2008: Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. Hunt, Peter 1991: Criticism, Theory, and Children’s Literature. Pennac, Daniel 2008: The Rights of the Reader. Turnbull, Colin M. 1983: The Human Cycle.

kendal a. rautzhan

children’s studies A curricular program and an epistemology for understanding the unique experience that children have of their own childhood when it is not presumed to be a primitive, imperfect human condition that comes before

children’s studies

“How is it my doing?” “Because when children who have been naughty turn over a new leaf and become good, they have power to bring happiness to their families.” (Collodi, 2005, p. 191)

Chinese studies

120 adaptation and socialization to adult norms. Long ignored by advocates of cultural and critical theory, as well as by emancipatory, liberal intellectuals who have championed the needs of women, the poor, and members of racial and ethnic minorities, children – despite their obvious powerlessness and vulnerability – were largely invisible in the work of cultural and critical theorists until the launching of an interdisciplinary program at Brooklyn College of The City University of New York in 1991 in the wake of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. (Subsequently that convention has been signed by 194 nation-states, but not by the United States and Somalia.) In her manifesto for children’s studies, Gertrud Lenzer, who directs the Children’s Studies Center at Brooklyn College, outlines the two principal reasons for launching this new interdisciplinary field: “First, most disciplines in the arts, humanities, social and medical sciences as well as law – with the notable exceptions of children’s literature, child psychology, and pediatrics – had failed to provide a special focus on children. In brief, most disciplines did not regard children as both a separate social class and human transhistorical condition. Childhood was conceived as a transitory stage on the way toward future adulthood” (Lenzer, 2001, p. 181). And, second, “We felt that it was incumbent upon us to develop a holistic conceptualization of children as individuals and as a class, in order to overcome the disciplinary fragmentation of the study of children into an incoherent manifold of specialized perspectives and to develop a commensurate and genuinely comprehensive perspective on the analysis of children” (Lenzer, 2001, pp. 182–3). She concludes by simply stating the aim of children’s studies: “It makes the ontological claim that children must be viewed in their fullness as human beings.” This aim is complementary to the critical pedagogy of Henry Giroux and Adam Phillips’s work in child psychoanalysis. Interdisciplinary children’s studies programs and centers have recently been started at Rutgers, Harvard, and Bucknell.

Reading Lenzer, Gertrud 2001: “Children’s Studies: Beginnings and Purposes.”

michael payne

Chinese studies To serve the scope and purpose of this dictionary, this entry focuses on the study of contemporary Chinese culture during the past two decades. Active contributors to this broad topic include international scholars, scholars in overseas Chinese-language speaking areas including Taiwan and pre-1997 Hong Kong, as well as those in mainland China. The last group is probably the least known in the West, and therefore contemporary Chinese cultural studies in mainland China forms the main body of this entry. According to Ning Wang, Director of the Center for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Tsinghua University, the range and content of Cultural Studies in China are similar to those in the West. It covers at least four areas: ethnic studies, including studies of postcolonial, minority, and diasporic writing; area studies, including Asian and Pacific studies; gender studies, including studies of feminist, gay, and lesbian writings; and media studies comprising film, TV, and even internet studies. (Wang, Ning, 2003, p. 189)

In many ways, contemporary Chinese studies have been intricately related to Western cultural and critical theory. The Chinese translation of Frederic Jameson’s Postmodernism and Cultural Theories, published in 1986, marked the arrival of Western cultural and critical theory in the People’s Republic of China. During the past two decades, these theories have been serving as “the main discourse resources” (Tao and Yuanpu, 2005, p. 4) for contemporary Chinese studies, which has developed around three major themes: (1) the introduction of Western theories through translations and initial communications with Western scholars; (2) the application of Western theories in Chinese studies; and (3) reflections on the applicability of Western theories in Chinese studies, with consideration given to the unique context of cultural studies in China. Following the publication of the Chinese version of Postmodernism and Cultural Theories, the Chinese translation of The Dialectic of Enlightenment by Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer was published in 1990. These two publications were the prelude for a series of translations of the most influential theoretical

121 Jameson gave lectures that were a milestone and inspired a new generation of young Chinese scholars. The 1995 International Conference on “Cultural Studies: China and the West” in Dalian was the first conference dedicated to cultural studies in China. Participants included internationally acknowledged scholars Terry Eagleton, Ralph Cohen, and Jonathan Arac, overseas Chinese scholars Henry Y. H. Zhao, Kang Liu, Sheldon Lu, and Shaobo Xie, as well as mainland Chinese scholars Ning Wang, Ersu Ding, and others. An outcome of this conference was the 1997 special issue of New Literary History, which contained nine essays presented at the conference and two commentaries. Two among the nine essays were contributed by mainland Chinese scholars: “Philosophical Discourse of Postmodernity in the Chinese Context” by Ersu Ding and “Orientalism versus Occidentalism?” by Ning Wang. Aware of the indifference to postmodernism in contemporary Chinese philosophy, Ersu Ding discusses the significance of postmodernism via the presentation of the postmodernist debate regarding cognitive criteria. From the perspective of cultural criticism, Ning Wang’s essay questions Said’s Orientalism theory, analyzes Occidentalism and its manifestations, and advocates for cultural dialogue instead of cultural opposition. With tremendous enthusiasm, Chinese scholars and critics not only embraced Western cultural and critical theory but also immediately applied them in the study of contemporary Chinese culture. Starting from the early 1990s, publications of cultural criticism in Chinese have appeared in the form of journal articles, specialized books, and anthologies. Scholars with active publications in this field include Gang Chen, Xiaoming Chen, Yongguo Chen, Zhiguang Cui, Jinhua Dai, Bingzhong Gao, Huilin Huang, Yuanpu Jin, Tuo Li, Gang Luo, Sihui Mao, Dongfeng Tao, Fengzhen Wang, Hui Wang, Minan Wang, Ning Wang, Yichuan Wang, Yuechuan Wang, Ying Xiao, Naiqiao Yang, Shuxian Ye, Hong Yin, Yiwu Zhang, Bin Zhao, Xian Zhou, and many others. In 1995, Jinhua Dai established China’s first Cultural Studies Program at Beijing University; this program is dedicated to film studies and popular cultural studies. Three journals also played a significant role in the development of Chinese Studies. Dushu (Reading), under the co-editorship

Chinese studies

and critical works from the West. The Zhishifenzi tushuguan (Library of the Intellectuals) series started in the 1990s. This series consists of translations of nearly thirty works by Fredric Jameson, Harold Bloom, Jonathan Culler, Stanley Fish, Paul De Man, Terry Eagleton, Walter Benjamin, Edward William Said, and others; one of the latest books in this series is the translation of Perry Anderson’s A Zone of Engagement, published in July 2008. With the advent of the twenty-first century, more translation series were published. Wenhua he chuanbo yicong (Translation Series of Culture and Communications) introduced a dozen works related to media studies, with authors including Marshall McLuhan, Stuart Hall, and John Fiske. Another, with more than twenty translations, all related to modernism and postmodernism, was contributed by Xiandaixing yanjiu yicong (Translation Series of Modernity Studies). Authors in this series include David Harvey, Raymond Williams, Jean Baudrillard, Matei Cflinescu, and Richard Wolin, among others. In the field of popular cultural studies, Dazhong wenhua yanjiu yicong (Translation Series of Popular Cultural Studies) has published five translations of works by Laura Stempel Mumford, Angela McRobbie, John Fiske, Jennifer Craik, Andrew Goodwin, Garry Whannel, and others. Dangdai xueshu lengjing yicong (Translation Series of Contemporary Academic Prism) consists of a number of sub-series with different foci, including popular cultural studies, global cultural studies, philosophy, sociology, overseas Marxism and post-Marxism, media studies, and linguistics; this series has contributed nearly fifty translations. Since 1986, over a hundred translations of Western cultural and critical theory works have been published in Chinese. In addition to the growing familiarity with Western cultural and critical theory through translations, Chinese scholars have initiated communication with Western theorists and critics via lectures and conferences. Among the initial face-to-face contacts, Fredrik Jameson’s visit to Beijing University in 1985, as well as the 1995 International Conference on “Cultural Studies: China and the West,” deserve special attention. During September through December in 1985, Fredrik Jameson systematically introduced postmodernist theory to Beijing University; as the first Western visiting scholar in this field,

Chinese studies

122 of Hui Wang and Ping Huang since 1996, published a series of cultural critiques giving close attention to contemporary social-political issues, including housing allocation system reform, governmental structure reform, census reform, medical system reform, the wave of immigration to cities, rural construction, educational system reform, and so on. Shijie (Horizons) and Wenhua yanjiu (Cultural Studies), founded at the beginning of the twenty-first century, both place equal importance on the introduction of leading-edge Western theories and the presentation of domestic scholarship. Issues of Shijie, under the coeditorship of Tuo Li and Yangu Chen, consist of eight sections including “theoretical frontiers,” “international scholars,” “free talk,” “cultural studies,” “dialogue and interview,” “the critic,” “the art studio,” and “book review.” Wenhua yanjiu, under the group editorship of Dongfeng Tao, Yuanpu Jin, and Bingzhong Gao, covers all major topics related to contemporary Chinese studies, among which are “visual cultural studies,” “literature and culture,” “culture and power,” and so on; scholarship in Wenhua yanjiu covers both theoretical explorations and case studies. Among this broad range of topics, the study of popular culture, as well as postcolonial criticism versus China’s modernity, has aroused the most interest and provoked the most significant debates to date. Two books, Wenhua yanjiu: Xifang yu zhongguo (Cultural Studies: The West and China) by Dongfeng Tao and Dangdai zhongguo de wenhua piping (Cultural Criticism in Contemporary China) by Dongfeng Tao and Yanrui Xu, provide the most comprehensive introduction of studies in these two fields. The study of popular culture, or, in the term generally used in Chinese-language scholarship, mass culture, has developed from the application of and reflections on the culture industry theory of the Frankfurt school, particularly as defined and analyzed in The Dialectic of Enlightenment. For example, Hong Yin argued that, according to its functions, mass culture in contemporary China is an entertaining culture; according to its productive method, it is a good manufactured by the culture industry; according to its text, it is a two-dimensional culture; and according to its circulation method, it is a pan-citizen culture deprived of class differences. As a form of culture,

its political, enlightening, educational, and even aesthetic functions are suppressed, yet the sensational, playful, and entertaining functions are strengthened and emphasized. Yin did not repudiate the contributions of mass culture to the balance and adjustments of not only individual psychological development but also social structure. He did, however, provide a systematic criticism of mass culture from three major perspectives: (1) what mass culture provides is a false satisfaction that leaves the subjects in a state of performative joy, forgetting the basic meaning of existence; (2) the unrealistic nature of mass culture often distorts people’s understanding of the real world, thus weakening their judgment; and (3) the reproductive manufacturing method of mass culture leads to the loss of individuality, creativity, passion for criticism, as well as realistic spirit, which ultimately leads to an abandonment of humanistic spirit (Tao and Xu, 2006, pp. 78–9). Reflections on the applicability of the cultural industry theory to the study of contemporary Chinese mass culture were, at least partially, a response to the above criticism. Dongfeng Tao pointed out three gaps in the application of the Frankfurt school theory in this study: (1) it does not grant sufficient consideration of the specific social-historical context for the emergence of Chinese mass culture during the 1980s directly after the totalitarian period, which started as early as the 1950s and encompassed, in particular, the Cultural Revolution (1966–76); (2) essentially, it applies the criteria for elite culture to mass culture; and (3) it focuses on abstract moral criticism and aesthetic criticism yet does not analyze the special political functions of Chinese mass culture in its unique and specific social and historical context (Tao and Xu, 2006, p. 79). Tao, an important voice in this particular area, criticized the mechanical application of the critical theory of the Frankfurt school to the study of Chinese mass culture. With special attention to the historical transition of Chinese society during the 1980s as the specific social and historical context of the emergence of Chinese mass culture, Tao argued that the primary criterion for the criticism of Chinese mass culture was whether or not it performed the political function of resisting totalitarianism and promoting democracy

123 the beginning of 1994. Dongfeng Tao analyzed the interrelation between the popularity of Orientalism in China and nationalism in the context of cultural conservatism and the renaissance theory of Eastern culture, as well as the new global political structure. Later in the same year, Longxi Zhang pointed out the dangers of idealizing and romanticizing non-Western civilizations while criticizing Western civilization and advocating for cultural pluralism. In particular, he criticized the methodology of, on the one hand, condemning nineteenth-century Western colonial culture, and, on the other hand, applying Western theory, for example, postcolonial theory (see Postcolonial studies), as a criterion for issues specific to the East (Tao and Xu, 2006, pp. 134–5). Almost simultaneously with the above debate, the issue of knowledge mode in China became the focus of discussion; this was intricately related to specific reflections on the development of China’s culture and society since the May Fourth Movement in 1919. In an article published in Wenyi zhengming (Literary and Cultural Debates) in 1994, Fa Zhang, Yiwu Zhang, and Yichuan Wang pointed out that, starting from as early as 1840, “modernity” had been the basic mode of knowledge in China, and it had manifested in the domination of Western modernity. Chinese modernization was analyzed as a process through which Chinese national identity was abandoned. This discussion saw the 1990s as the beginning of a new mode of knowledge: a “Chineseness,” which inherited the values of both classical tradition and Western modernity with an emphasis on and acceptance of cultural differences and developmental diversity (Tao and Xu, 2006, pp. 135–7). In a later issue of the same year, Jian Shao voiced counter-arguments, focusing on criticizing the methodology of explaining Chinese modernity through postmodernism and postcolonialism theory. Shao opposed the assumptions of the above theory, in particular identifying modernization with Westernization. He also opposed the juxtaposition of “modernity” and “Chineseness,” analyzing “modernity” as a chronological concept in the development of human societies instead of a geographical concept in the context of global economy/politics. Based on this discussion, Shao declared that China was

Chinese studies

(Tao and Xu, 2006, pp. 82–4). Advocates of this approach argued against the polarization of popular and humanistic thought. They pointed out that the opposition of humanistic thought was not the popular thought embodied in mass culture; instead, it was the planned economy and the totalitarian ideology of China before the 1980s. With this understanding, Chinese mass culture was seen in a positive light, as part of the consequences of market economy and as the reflection of changes in material reality on the spiritual life (Tao and Xu, 2006, p. 84). Another important approach to contemporary Chinese mass culture was proposed through political-economic analysis and class analysis, techniques that appeared towards the end of the 1990s. This approach defined contemporary Chinese mass culture as the culture of middle-class privilege. Jinhua Dai argued that, during the 1990s, mass culture and mass media identified themselves with the taste and consuming habits of the extremely prosperous middle class. In essence, this mass culture was middle-class culture and derived from capitalism and capitalist ideology. And not only did this mass culture conceal the reality of rapid class polarization in the new era, it also legitimized the profit and power of the middle class (Tao and Xu, 2006, pp. 98 –100). Compared to the study of contemporary Chinese mass culture with its three major approaches, the field of postcolonial criticism versus China’s modernity is even more complex, marked by a series of debates. The first major debate focused on the extensions of Orientalism as defined by Said. In 1993, a series of articles published in Dushu reflected on Western modernization as well as the nature of China’s modernization. Within the framework of postcolonial discourse, Kuan Zhang called for special attention to issues including the infiltration of colonial elements in Western humanities, interactions among Western modern social science, humanities, and colonization, the approach of Third World intellectuals to the fact of being colonized and/or semi-colonized, as well as strategies of freeing themselves from the Westdominated colonial discourse (Tao and Xu, 2006, pp. 132–4). Active responses to these articles were published in the same journal at

Chodorow, Nancy

124 undergoing the transformation from a pre-modern to a modern era, instead of transforming from a modern to a postmodern era (Tao and Xu, 2006, pp. 139–41). The focus of other debates included the Chinese national character, Yimou Zhang’s films of the 1980s and the 1990s, literature by Chinese overseas students and scholars, and many other issues. Each debate resonated with a number of scholars, inspiring responses containing penetrating reflections on Chinese life. Major thoughts during these periods are also analyzed in Hui Wang’s “Contemporary Chinese Thought and the Question of Modernity” (in Wang, Hui, 2003). The conclusion of this article provides the following vision for studies in this field. Even though there is no one theory that can explain the complex and often mutually contradictory problems that we now face, it nevertheless behooves Chinese intellectuals to break their dependence on time-honored binary paradigms, such as China/West and tradition/ modernity, to pay more attention to the factors that might contribute to institutional innovation within society, to attend to the capacity for renewal within civil society, and to move on to a reexamination of the historical methods and conditions under which China has sought modernity. The reconsideration of China’s problems by placing them in the context of globalization is an urgent theoretical problem. Socialist historical practice is part of the past; the future designs of global capitalism, by the same token, do not promise to overcome the crisis of modernity that Weber wrote about. The modern era, as a historical phase, continues. This provides the impetus for the continued existence and development of critical thought; it may prove for Chinese intellectuals to be a historic opportunity for theoretical and institutional innovation. (Wang, Hui, 2003, pp. 186–7)

It is also important to note that the new century witnessed the establishment of institutions focusing specifically on cultural studies. In 2001, the Center for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies was established in Tsinghua University, and the Center for Chinese Contemporary Cultural Studies in Shanghai University. In 2004, the Cultural Studies Program was founded in Shanghai University; this is a graduate program

aiming at nurturing scholarship specializing in contemporary Chinese studies.

Reading Liu, Lydia H. 1995: Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity – 1900 –1937. New Literary Theory special issue, 1997. Tao, Dongfeng 2002: Wenhua yanjiu: xifang yu zhongguo (Cultural Studies: The West and China). —— and Xu Yanrui 2006: Dangdai zhongguo de wenhuapiping (Cultural Criticism in Contemporary China). —— and Jin Yuanpu, eds 2005: Cultural Studies in China. Wang, Hui 2003: China’s New Order: Society, Politics, and Economy in Transition. Wang, Ning 2003: “Cultural studies in China: towards closing the gap between elite culture and popular culture.”

xing fan

Chodorow, Nancy (1944–) US feminist sociologist and psychoanalytic critic. The central project of Chodorow’s most influential work, The Reproduction of Mothering (1978), was to explain the seemingly inevitable, trans-historical, and cross-culturally universal fact of male dominance in terms that did not assume biological determinism, but would instead allow intervention and transformation of the sexual divisions of productive and reproductive labor. Published at a time when most US feminists were hostile to Psychoanalysis, The Reproduction of Mothering made a strong case for its usefulness to feminist inquiry. Drawing on the work of Karen Horney and Melanie Klein, Chodorow revised traditional theories of Object-Relations and Freudian narratives of development, shifting the focus from the father and the Oedipal complex to the mother and the pre-Oedipal period to conclude that Gender identity is constructed differently for men and women: “women’s self more in relation and involved with boundary negotiations, separation and connection, men’s self more distanced and based on defensively firm boundaries and denials of self-other connection” (1989, p. 2). Women’s exclusive responsibility for childrearing is a prime determinant of male dominance, for women who mother (and men who do not) produce daughters “with mothering capacities and the


Reading Chodorow, Nancy 1978: The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender. —— 1989: Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory.

glynis carr

Chomsky, Noam (1928–) American linguist and political campaigner. Born in Philadelphia in the eastern United States, Chomsky first studied linguistics under Zellig Harris (see Harris, Zellig) at the University of Pennsylvania. After a short spell at Harvard he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston in 1955, where he has been based ever since. In the mid-1960s he actively opposed United States military involvement in Vietnam and was arrested while addressing a large anti-war demonstration in Washington. Subsequently he has been equally critical of United States policy around the world, particularly the Pacific region, the Middle East, and Central America. Chomsky

has lectured on linguistics and politics in many countries and has received many academic honours. He was once described as “arguably the most important intellectual alive.” Chomsky is perhaps best known for his claim that many properties of language are innate, that is, the result of human genetic programming rather than being learned from experience. He came to prominence in the late 1950s when his work played a major part in transforming linguistics from an esoteric discipline into a central component of the human and cognitive sciences. His vigorous critiques of structuralist linguistics (Chomsky, 1964a) and the behaviorist psychology with which it was linked (Chomsky, 1964b) helped to establish his reputation (see Language theories). Chomsky developed a new approach to the study of language. His starting point was dissatisfaction with the structuralist linguistics favored by Harris. The structuralists had viewed a language as a collection of utterances. The English language, seen in this way, was everything that speakers of English said and wrote, taken as a whole. What, then, was a grammar of a language? In abstract, mathematical terms it was a set of formulae which specified the structure of this collection of utterances. Chomsky’s early work investigated the mathematical properties of this set of formulae. He argued that there are an infinite number of possible utterances, but that the grammar must be finite, containing within itself recursive mechanisms which enable it to characterize an infinite set of Structures. He further argued that it is not possible to specify a “discovery procedure” which starts with a language and automatically produces a single correct grammar (hence the dream of the structuralists was not achievable). Since a grammar is finite but a language is not, the next step for Chomsky was to take a grammar as the central object to be investigated, rather than a language. A further reason for this is that any language (considered as a set of utterances) will contain many errors, false starts, repetitions, coughs, splutters, and so on. The grammar, on the other hand, the thing that speakers of a language have in common, presumably does not contain any of these blemishes. But if a grammar is not a physical thing, like a set of utterances, what is it? The only sensible answer, Chomsky concluded,

Chomsky, Noam

desire to mother” and sons for whom masculinity means male superiority and “whose nurturant capacities and needs have been systematically curtailed and repressed” (1978, p. 7). Thus sexual asymmetry and inequality are not “natural” but sociological and psychological facts reproduced in and by each generation. The political implications were clear: “a fundamental reorganization of parenting [is necessary], so that primary parenting is shared between men and women” (1978, p. 215). In her later work, including essays collected in Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory (1989), Chodorow no longer argues that male dominance has a single cause, nor that gender differences are always implicated in relations of inequality. Responding to materialists’ criticism that psychoanalysis lacks historical and cultural specificity, Chodorow has become more interested in understanding social change and in producing accounts more attentive to differences among women (such as Race, Class, and Ethnicity), the multivocality of women’s narratives, and the plurality of women’s social, psychological, and cultural identities. See also Feminist criticism; Freud, Sigmund; Masculinity; Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic criticism.


126 was this: a complete grammar of a language must be regarded as a model of the knowledge in the mind of a person who speaks that language (a “native speaker”). Now further questions arise, in particular, the question of how this grammar comes to be in the brain of a speaker of a language. The structuralist answer was that it was learned from experience, and it is true that a young person acquires the grammar of the language spoken around him or her. There are certain things about grammars, however, which suggest strongly that this cannot be the whole story. As we saw, a discovery procedure for a grammar is not feasible. If a grammar is learned, then it must be by trial and error on the part of young people, since they are certainly not “taught” their first language by adults (indeed, when adults attempt to do this they usually make the task harder rather than easier). But trial and error is not a plausible answer either, since despite very different experiences of language, all children exposed to English acquire the SAME grammar of English: different people’s grammars are remarkably uniform, with much less variation than, say, in their hairstyles or tastes in music. What is more, the order in which different parts of grammar are acquired is remarkably constant across children and across languages. Our genetic endowment accounts for the twofold uniformity of language acquisition, and also explains how certain rules of grammar are acquired in the absence of any data that would warrant them. Such rules (and there are many of them) could be learned only if young people were systematically taught that certain structures are NOT grammatical. But children are not taught this. Genetics is the only possible solution. Chomsky’s research program aims to specify the genetic properties of language. The first step is to provide a partial Generative grammar of a particular language. The second is to isolate those rules and principles of this generative grammar which could not have been learned. The third step is to generalize these rules and principles as widely as possible and to propose that they are part of Universal Grammar (UG), a model of the genetic properties of language (in earlier work UG was called the Language Acquisition Device (LAD). Finally, other languages are investigated

to evaluate the proposals about UG. Any hypothesis about UG must be broad enough to allow for all human languages, but narrow enough to exclude things that are not possible human languages. It should be noted that devising a generative grammar is only one step in this process, and that UG is the ultimate goal. Using the term “generative grammar” as a label for Chomsky’s approach to language is therefore misleading: a better name is “language as a biological system.” Chomsky’s theoretical framework has been extremely influential, within both linguistics and neighboring fields such as psychology and philosophy. His ideas remain highly controversial, however (for an outline of the main criticisms see Salkie, 1990, pp. 96–120).

Reading Chomsky, N. 1964a: Current Issues in Linguistic Theory. —— 1964b: “Review of Verbal Behaviour by B.F. Skinner.” —— 1987: On Power and Ideology. —— 1988: Language and Problems of Knowledge. —— 1991a: Deterring Democracy. Cook, V. 1988: Chomsky’s Universal Grammar: An Introduction. Peck, J., ed. 1987: The Chomsky Reader. Salkie, R. 1990: The Chomsky Update: Linguistics and Politics.

raphael salkie

city The ancient world provides us with two mythic origins and originators for the city. There is Plutarch’s Theseus, the legendary founder of Athens, whose city is organized, coherent, reasoned and reasonable, abstract, bound and guarded by laws. Then there is the city of Cain; for, in the Bible, it is Cain – a cursed and banished murderer, a marked man condemned to be a vagrant and vagabond – who builds the first city. Since Cain was a criminal, a fugitive, a nomad, we may think of a city full of aliens, vagrants; anonymity, randomness; the lost and the damned. The city, particularly as it has developed during the last 200 years, has often aspired to the condition of Theseus’s Athens; but it has more often been described as being more like a city of Cain. The city and Western literature are effectively coeval. But the great literary concentration,


How often, in the overflowing streets, Have I gone forward with the crowd and said Unto myself, “The face of every one That passes me is a mystery!” (Prelude, Book VII)

Edgar Allan Poe caught this memorably in “The Man of the Crowd,” the first story of urban anomie, which was to become a key text for Walter Benjamin. Poe also, effectively, invented the detective story (“The murders in the rue Morgue”), which turned out to prove an ideal genre for tracking the clues of the mysteries and crimes spawned by the modern metropolis. The miseries of this new crowd of strangers, particularly of the new urban proletariat, provoked different cries of outrage from principled Victorians, which could point towards a radical politics. As in the case of Engels: “however much one may be aware that this isolation of the individual, this narrow self-seeking is the fundamental principle of our society everywhere, it is nowhere so shamelessly barefaced, so self-conscious as just here in the crowding of the great city. The dissolution of mankind into monads . . . is here carried out to its utmost extremes” (The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844). On a more personal level, James Thomson recorded how the city could become phantasmagoric, a nightmare of tormented consciousness, in City of Dreadful Night (1870). The Futurist Manifesto of 1909 first identified the city as the preeminent theme of modern literature and painting; and it was Ezra Pound who pointed out that while “the life of the village is narrative . . . In a city the visual impressions succeed each other, overlap, overcross, they are cinematographic.” A number of major twentieth-

century novels give us just such a “cinematographic,” disintegrative, discontinuous, explosive rendering of the city – for instance, Bely’s Petersburg (1913), Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929), and Céline’s Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932). But the nineteenth century had already seen the growth of a rich tradition of a literature of the city. London is not the background or setting for Charles Dickens’s novels – it is the protagonist, with a terrible energy and power, of which his human characters are simply more or less functioning fragments. (See the opening paragraph of Bleak House.) Honoré de Balzac immersed himself in Paris – the high life, the low life; the streets, the shops, the money, the clothes, the food; the crowds, the shocks, the collisions; and the endless circulation of peculiarly modern desires and dissatisfactions engendered by the modern city. Charles Baudelaire – who created the image of the poet as city flâneur – was, arguably, the first great poet of the city, and he saw Balzac’s city-haunting characters as true heroes compared to the “pygmies” of the Iliad, and Balzac himself as the greatest hero of all. Where the varied landscapes of the cultural past seemed relatively knowable and describable, the modern city, protean, amorphous, incoherent, always expanding and in flux, posed new problems of representation. And the city was coming to be felt to be everywhere; it seemed there was no place or point outside it from which it could be seen and comprehended as a whole (as pastoral and Romantic poets had often “surveyed” the landscapes stretching out before or beneath them). We may take T.S. Eliot and James Joyce as representing two ways of responding to, and representing, the modern city. Eliot’s The Waste Land evokes the generic modern city as fragmented, polluted, sterile, collapsing – “unreal”: Falling towers Jerusalem Athens Alexandria Vienna London Unreal. (lines 373–6)

Joyce’s Ulysses, with its massive recreation of the teeming life of one Dublin day, using the whole range of possible literary styles as it walks through the city, listening to its many voices, offers a


exploration, and evocation of the city really starts in the nineteenth century. This was when the city started to become both mysterious and ubiquitous, unknowable and inescapable, housing the past and determining – or destroying – the future. Increasingly, meaning no longer comes from the church, the court, or the manor, but is produced – and reproduced – in the city. Already Wordsworth was realizing that “the great city” was producing a new kind of experience, perhaps a new kind of person:


128 much more fecund and festive sense of the modern city; though here, too, with intimations of ultimate meaninglessness: Cityful passing away, other cityful coming, passing away too: other coming on, passing on. Houses, lines of houses, streets, miles of pavements, piled up bricks, stones. . . . Piled up in cities, worn away age after age. Pyramids in sand.

Yet the city offered writers a great deal to stimulate them. Robert Musil, whose city was Vienna, wrote, in his great work The Man Without Qualities, that the city afforded “irregularity, change, sliding forward, not keeping in step, collisions of things and affairs” – “a tangle of forces” generating “the well-known incoherency of ideas, with their way of spreading out without a central point . . . without a basic unity.” More basically, the city offered cheap paper, easier publishing opportunities, and a growing market for books and magazines – not to mention a concentration of libraries, academies, museums, and galleries. In the city the writer could become, for the first time, his own master – independent of the uncertain patronage of an unpredictable court and a quixotic aristocracy. The relatively fixed and stable routines of rural life were superseded by new experiences of mobility, complexity, variety, openness, and change. The modern city saw new social, economic, and cultural relations being formed, along with enriched and facilitated intercultural communications, and new metropolitan sophistications. It is hardly too much to say that modern literature is predominantly an urban product. And yet, the response of many modern writers to the city has been antagonistic, adversarial, denunciatory; often provoking nostalgic yearnings for some imagined lost world – rural or preindustrial – of stability, security, and reassuring familiarity. Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malta Laurids Brigge (1910) records his experience of Paris, and it starts: “So this is where people come to live; I’d have thought it was a place to come and die.” The city never sleeps, and never lets him sleep – “electric trams hurtle ringing through my room. Automobiles ride across me.” But – being a writer – he is determined to find an appropriate mode of response: “I’m learning to see. Yes, I am beginning. It’s not

going very well yet. But I intend to make the most of my time.” In the event, he makes an imaginative journey back into his childhood. However, one may take a more general point. The modern city forced artists – writers; painters (Monet, Meidner, Munch, Kirchner, Boccioni, Delaunay, Grosz, Dix – painting the city as everything from a new technological Arcadia to a new kind of hell on earth); and of course filmmakers (Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, 1926) – to see in new ways. There was a major perceptual shift, and we can no longer look at the world with pre-city eyes. Of course, artists create their own cities, as Henry James indicated when he wrote of “making a mere Rome of words, talking of a Rome of my own which was no Rome of reality . . . the whole thing was a rare state of the imagination.” Ruskin recreated a whole lost Venice in The Stones of Venice, which was a rare state of the imagination indeed, and had an incalculable effect on subsequent literature. But the modern city seems not to lend itself to such confident recuperations. Kafka is perhaps the quintessential writer of experience in the modern city, and here is one of his complete fragments – fitting form for the city. I stand on the end platform of the tram and am completely unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in my family. Not even casually could I indicate any claims that I might rightly advance in any direction. I have not even any defense to offer for standing on this platform, holding on to this strap, letting myself be carried along by this tram, nor for the people who give way to the tram or walk quietly along or stand gazing into shop windows. Nobody asks me to put up a defense, indeed, but that is irrelevant. . . . (On the Tram)

Reading Benevolo, Leonardo 1993: The European City. Benjamin, Walter 1928b (1979): One-way Street. Berman, Marshall 1982 (1983): All That is Solid Melts into Air. The Experience of Modernity. Jaye, Michael, and Watts, Ann Chalmers 1981: Literature and the Urban Experience. Mumford, Lewis 1961: The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, Its Prospects. Prendergast, Christopher 1992: Paris and the Nineteenth Century.


tony tanner

civil society A term which in contemporary discussion is generally used to mean a social sphere of freedom, voluntary association, and plurality of human relationships, identities, differences, and values as contrasted with the coercive political power of state and government (Keane, 1988b). Several social and political factors help to explain the current popularity of this idea: the rise of autonomous social movements (for example, peace and environmentalist movements, liberation movements of women, gays, and black people); the conspicuous failures of Western social-democratic parties and governments over the last 20 years; and the experience of political dictatorship and state oppression under the former Soviet and Eastern European regimes, the growth of opposition movements (for example, Solidarity in Poland), the overthrow/ collapse of those regimes, and the fragmentation of many of the states which they governed. Flowing from such experiences, the argument has been developed both in the West and in Eastern Europe that strengthening the associations, movements, and institutions of civil society is fundamental to the successful pursuit of increased freedom, equality, and democracy at the level of both society and the state (Keane, 1988a). This usage of “civil society” partly derives from the revival of the term earlier this century by Gramsci. However, there is a vital difference. For Gramsci the concept is central to his critique of capitalist society (Gramsci, 1971). Western European capitalist societies, according to Gramsci, are governed not only by the coercive powers of the state, but also by the maintenance of consent to bourgeois Hegemony (roughly, intellectual and cultural leadership) in the realm of civil society. In the associations and institutions of civil society the bourgeoisie maintains its social dominance through the influence of its ideas and cultural products. Thus, for Gramsci,

civil society is a vital terrain on which capitalism must be fought. While Gramsci’s use of civil society here is not free from problems (Hunt, 1986), it is nevertheless intended as a central element in a critique of capitalism. However, this forthrightly anti-capitalist deployment of the concept has now largely fallen into abeyance. This is but the latest in a series of shifts of meaning which the idea of civil society has undergone, and the diversity of meanings which the term has carried since it originated in the seventeenth century has given it an elusive and ambiguous character (Honneth, 1993; Tester, 1992). Hegel was the first theorist to draw a clear distinction between civil society and the state (Hegel, 1821). Earlier writers, such as Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, despite the deep theoretical differences which divided them, had identified civil society with the creation of the modern state. But for Hegel, civil society is the social realm within which egoistic individuals pursue their “private” interests. Thus economic activities such as work, the production and exchange of goods, and the acquisition of property are central to Hegel’s view of civil society, though he also includes other important elements such as ethical, cultural, and educational features. The state, on the other hand, is concerned with the pursuit of the general interest of the whole community. It is a structure of political authority which is separate from civil society and only very loosely representative of it. One of the main purposes of the state is to integrate disparate egoistic individuals into a unified community. Thus, for Hegel, despite this innovative distinction, the state remains fundamental to the existence and functioning of civil society. In his early writings Marx accepted Hegel’s distinction between civil society and the state while arguing against Hegel: first, that civil society is the foundation of the state and not vice versa; and second, for a radical democratization of the state. However, Marx became increasingly critical of the idea of civil society and a developed critique of it may be found in his later work (Hunt, 1987). Marx analyzes modern capitalist society as a social formation with a distinctive economic structure containing social classes of very unequal power. This implies that social relations, and not only the applications of state power, are systematically coercive in character, and that this coercion

civil society

Strauss, Leo 1964: The City and Man. Tanner, Tony 1992: Venice Desired. Timms, Edward, and Kelly, David 1985: Unreal City: Urban Experience in Modern European Literature and Art. Weber, Max 1962: The City. Williams, Raymond 1973: The Country and the City.

Cixous, Hélène

130 flows from the fundamental structure of society. While on the surface society appears to consist of free individuals pursuing their interests by entering into voluntary association with each other, the underlying reality, according to Marx’s critique, is that with its monopoly of the means of production a wealthy minority coerces, oppresses, and exploits the majority. The concept of civil society as an expression of the surface appearances of capitalist society is thus profoundly misleading. Contemporary proponents of civil society tend to reject this Marxist critique on the grounds that it is “reductionist” and “economistic” in locating the main source of coercive power in capitalist society in its economic and class structure (Keane, 1988a). They tend to argue that the sources of power in modern society are too pluralistic and heterogeneous to be accounted for in this way. Instead, society is seen as an arena within which individuals of diverse identities associate in a multiplicity of ways in pursuit of their goals, and engage in a variety of forms of resistance to the many different sources of power and coercion. Civil society is upheld as the key notion required to conceptualize the potential for freedom and liberation which this arena contains. In viewing society as a sphere within which disparate individuals relate in diverse ways, and in understating (or even ignoring) questions of social structure and class, there is a strong tendency for this contemporary defence of civil society to remain confined within a liberal theoretical framework, despite the more radical language in which it is expressed. As against this, the relevance and validity of the Marxist critique continues to be upheld by some writers. One such critic is Wood, who argues that while the pursuit of freedom, equality, and democracy must certainly entail resistance to all forms of social and political oppression, crucially it must include opposition to the systematic coercion and exploitation inherent in capitalist social relations. She maintains that many contemporary theorists of civil society “conceptualize away the problem of capitalism” by dissolving it “into an unstructured and undifferentiated plurality of social institutions and relations” (Wood, 1990, pp. 60, 66–7), with the result that the idea of civil society obscures and mystifies vital social issues rather than illuminating them.

Reading Gramsci, Antonio 1971: Selections From the Prison Notebooks. Honneth, Axel 1993: “Conceptions of ‘civil society.’ ” Hunt, Geoffrey 1987: “The development of the concept of civil society in Marx.” Keane, John 1988a: Democracy and Civil Society. —— ed. 1988b: Civil Society and the State: New European Perspectives. Tester, Keith 1992: Civil Society. Wood, Ellen Meiksins 1990: “The uses and abuses of ‘civil society.’ ”

barry wilkins

Cixous, Hélène (1937–) French feminist, writer, and critic. Cixous is the leading French feminist associated with écriture féminine, a Discourse which originates in the pre-Oedipal drives of the body. Writing these “bodily” sensations serves to disrupt the symbolic (male) language/order. Her work draws on a variety of intellectual influences, Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction, history, and criticism, but submits to none of them. Despite a wide range of published material, including her early work on James Joyce, in England and America, she is chiefly represented by three main essays: “Sorties,” “The Laugh of the Medusa,” and “Coming to Writing.” The account that follows is based primarily on these works. The disruptive potential of écriture féminine is predicated on the organization of Culture and representation around the primary term of the male/female opposition, “‘the’ couple, man/ woman” (1975, p. 64), where the female is figured as the negative underside to the male Hegemony. This culture, Cixous argues, has resulted in the relegation of woman to the other, and the denial of her own access to the pleasure of her Body, “Shut out of his system’s space, she is the repressed that ensures the system’s functioning” (1975, p. 67). This System is one based on hierarchy and opposition, where the traditional equation of the male with activity, and the female with passivity, posits the female as nonexistent and unthought. Thus the opposition is not a couple, and the feminine is merely a space or a lack subjected to male desire. She is thus a nonpresence, even to herself, dislocated from her own body and its desire. Cixous uses her experience of colonization in Algeria as a

131 a sex.” This presence of the other, of difference, is particularly applicable to women, as within a Freudian system they are bisexual, owing to to the requirement that they change the object of desire from the mother to the father. It is this coexistence of the other and difference, and their endless interplay, which constitutes woman’s “instinctual economy,” or her jouissance, which cannot be referred to, or described, by masculine discourse. For Cixous, writing itself is the place of the other, where identities are questioned and changed. Woman writing herself will enact a return to her confiscated body, the gateway to the unconscious. The Writing of the body, via an unsettling of the speech/writing distinction and the return of the repressed, will serve to disrupt the binary, hierarchical structures, for this writing means “non-exclusion.” Cixous insists upon the fact that this “feminine practice of writing” cannot be defined or theorized, for to do so would signal a return to the old systems of logic. Unlike Irigaray, she argues that écriture féminine is not exclusively tied to the biological sex of the writer, but to the capacity to include the other – Jean Genet is one of her examples of a “feminine” writer. This distinction would seem to confound those of her critics who have claimed that her ideas depend upon an unproblematized biological determinism. The blowing up of the Law which has exiled the other is an event which will happen in language, by writing with “the unimpeded tongue that bursts partitions, classes and rhetorics, orders and codes” (1975, pp. 94–5). A model that exemplifies this revolutionary return of the repressed for Cixous is the hysteric, who confounded Freud’s laws by fragmenting and disrupting language. Woman is to displace the opposing male signifier, to overturn it, but not to make it hers, for this would leave the structure itself intact. This demand to disrupt and borrow, but not to appropriate, is signalled by Cixous’s complex puns and word-plays, for example, that on voler (in French the verb means both “to fly” and “to steal”): “To fly/steal is woman’s gesture, to steal into language to make it fly.” The woman writing will fly/steal her confiscated body, to which she will then return. Cixous’s belief in the power of writing to express a female Imaginary which will undo the

Cixous, Hélène

metaphor to describe the power relations operative in this process of objectification and appropriation, whereby dominance requires the expulsion of the strange: the colonized body/ country is the “dark continent,” infinitely other, but with the power to threaten associated with the return of the repressed. Like Irigaray, Cixous analyzes the dependence of the male economy of desire on looking – Freud’s theory (and that of Lacan) is “a voyeur’s theory” (1975, p. 82) – and thus upon the objectification, expulsion, and fragmentation of the feminine. The operative distinction is between the “self-same” and the other, yet the other cannot be theorized without being assimilated into dialectic. She argues that the (male) Subject goes out into the Other in order to come back to itself; thus desire for the other is really desire for the self; an economy refuted by the feminine, which is plural in its drives and desires. The difference of woman from man lies not only in her status as repressed and “other,” but also in her capacity for maternity, bisexuality, and plurality. Moreover, each of these also contains within it subversive and disruptive potential. The relation designated by Cixous as the “m/other relation” provides a model for the overturning of the “Empire of the Selfsame” (1975, p. 78): she argues that the sex-specific role of nurturing and giving birth facilitates the acceptance of disruptions to the self, characteristic of the encounter with the other (1975, pp. 74 and 90). This unregretful splitting apart of subjectivity marks her specific libidinal economy – her jouissance. The maternal relation functions without appropriation or the erasure of difference, and thus enables plurality to come into play; the “gift” economy where all is given, and nothing is expected in return. This celebration of the revolutionary potential of mothering is one part of Cixous’s project of (re)gaining power from the male order; she argues that the maternal role has been assimilated into the paternal, so that the primary social and economic relation becomes that between father and child (1975, p. 101). However, the feminine is not only repressed for women, but for men also, who have denied the Femininity of male sexuality. Thus bisexuality provides another model for disruption as it is “the location within oneself of the presence of both sexes . . . the nonexclusion of difference or

Clark, Timothy James

132 Binary oppositions upon which her exclusion rests, draws upon much contemporary French philosophy – the work of Derrida in particular. Attention to the gaps and silences of language and texts will unsettle the Hegemony of male Discourse and culture. Her own writing provides an example of this: her work resists definitions such as fiction or theory, as she collapses generic distinctions, and disrupts the linear logic of male language, breaking up the Text and destabilizing meaning. Often dismissed as utopian, Cixous does offer a theory which enacts the possibility for radical change, without simply reproducing the Structures which oppress.

Reading Cixous, Hélène 1975a (1987): “Sorties: out and out: attacks/ways out/forays.” —— 1975b (1981): “The laugh of the Medusa.” —— 1991: “Coming to Writing” and Other Essays. Moi, Toril 1985: Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory. Sellers, Susan 1991: Language and Sexual Difference: Feminist Writing in France. Shiach, Morag 1989: “Their ‘symbolic’ exists, it holds power – we, the sowers of disorder, know it only too well.” —— 1991: Hélène Cixous: A Politics of Writing. Wilcox, Helen, ed. 1990: The Body and the Text: Hélène Cixous, Reading and Teaching.

danielle clarke Clark, Timothy James British-born and educated art historian, now working in the United States. Clark gives new life to the study and understanding of the social history of nineteenth-century France in his trilogy on French painting from 1848 to 1884 by viewing political event and Class structure not as so many bones on which loosely hang the skin of art works, but as the muscle and sinew of experience which can be seen as giving shape and meaning to form and image in Art. See also Avant-garde; Greenberg, Clement.

Reading Clark, T.J. 1973: The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France 1848–1851. —— 1973 (1984): Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution. —— 1985: The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers.

gerald eager

class During the Industrial Revolution, the term came to refer both to a group of persons sharing common social or economic status and to persons engaged in common economic activities. The political economists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries tied status more firmly to economic role or function, with the discussion of the three great classes (landlords, capitalists, and laborers) in J.S. Mill and D. Ricardo. The decisive step from taxonomy to teleology was taken by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, whose polemical writings divide humankind under capitalism into two classes, wage-laborers who produce surplus and capitalists who appropriate it. The bourgeoisie and the proletariat, each with its own consciousness and organization, form “two great hostile camps,” locked in a class struggle whose inevitable outcome is the demise of capitalism and the birth of socialism/communism. Thus Marx and Engels wove together considerations of status, economic function, political consciousness, and human destiny into the wellknown revolutionary claim in the Communist Manifesto: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (Marx, Engels, 1848). Much of the twentieth-century theorizing about class has since wrestled with the two intertwined problematics of the taxonomy of class and the teleology of class struggle. The taxonomic debate has tended to remain bounded by the categories of political economy, focusing on the functional classification of the new middle classes, while scholars concerned with the teleology of class have addressed issues of agency, Culture, and consciousness, moving rather far afield from Marxist political economy. Still, no matter how far from Capital the debate has strayed, Marx’s original conceptions continue to define the shape and logic of the argument. In fact, one could argue that the burden of twentieth-century thought on class has been the task of rehabilitation, elaboration, Deconstruction, and contestation of Marx’s original construction of class, that to criticize Marxist conceptions of class, one must stand in the space that Marx cleared. The earliest to claim the terrain was Max Weber, who shifted the analysis of class from the sphere of production to that of consumption, focusing on conflicts among status groups who share similar material standards of living, and

133 resting on political and ideological criteria alongside economic criteria. In placing this group on the capitalist side of the “boundary problem,” however, Poulantzas destroyed the working class, whose tiny numbers hardly seem adequate to the task of building a revolution. Harry Braverman (1974) saw the process of “deskilling” as proceeding at such a pace that the new middle class would inevitably be proletarianized. Erik Olin Wright (1985) took up the question of whitecollar work, seeking to retain the criteria of exploitation and appropriation as essential in any taxonomy of class. Wright introduced the notion of contradictory class locations to explain white-collar workers as simultaneously occupying positions in both the capitalist and the working class. Similarly, Wright defines mediated class relations, where an individual might occupy one class position as a result of her own class, but be linked to another by marriage, and temporal class locations, entailing changes in the nature of an individual’s work over her career trajectory. As both his critics and his supporters acknowledge, Wright’s theoretical moves are an attempt to provide greater complexity to the starkness of the picture painted by the Manifesto, while retaining the privileged status of class relations in the larger Marxist analysis (and project) of historical change. Responding to his critics, Wright (1989) points out that the problem of understanding the middle class presents neo-Marxists with a “Weberian temptation” to abandon notions of exploitation and appropriation; the Weberian solution relieves Marxists of the theoretical “burdens” on class analysis that are present in a theory that must span historical modes of production and explain the logic of exploitation and class antagonism. But for Wright, the choice of Marxism over Weberian approaches is simultaneously the expression of a methodological preference for systematic rather than ad hoc specifications and a political decision to ally himself with the Marxist tradition, which in his view “remains the most comprehensive and productive general framework for developing macrostructural theory of large-scale emancipatory possibilities.” Thus, the taxonomic question is simultaneously political and teleological. In seeking to delimit class boundaries and to situate particular


are thus differentiated on the basis of market relations and life chances, and also on the role of political parties, especially those organized along lines of ethnicity and nationality. Thus, the subordinate place accorded to economic class by Weber, whose antagonism to Marxism was marked and well known, stands in contrast to the privileged position accorded class by Marx and later neo-Marxists. Still, one should not overstate the distinctions between Marxist and Weberian taxonomies of class: neo-Weberians acknowledge the importance of class definitions based on economic production, while neo-Marxists recognize the role played by status, party, and nation. Commenting on the extent to which neo-Marxists have come to acknowledge the role of other forms of group identification, Frank Parkin (1979) noted, “Inside every neo-Marxist there seems to be a Weberian struggling to get out.” Parkin worked explicitly in the Weberian vein, focusing on the notion of social closure as the key element of exclusion by which classes are constructed. In his view, ruling classes achieve closure by monopolizing “exoteric” knowledge and armed force, not only economic resources such as land or capital. Anthony Giddens, standing simultaneously in the Weberian and Marxist traditions, shifted the discussion from class boundaries to the process of “class structuration,” which depends not only on the degree of closure in “distributive groupings,” but also on the division of labor within organizations, and the mechanisms of control in the workplace. Pierre Bourdieu (1984) further attenuated the link between economic relations and class analysis in his notions of a class “habitus” and the transmission of class capital, neither of which is exclusively material or centered on the workplace. A substantial body of empirical and theoretical work has sought to rescue Marxist class analysis from the straitjacket of the two-class model. Much of this work has been motivated by the emergence of new middle groups of white-collar workers such as clerical, managerial, and professional employees who do not fit neatly into the simple polarities of polemical Marxism. For Nicos Poulantzas (1975), white-collar workers, whose work consists of the distribution and circulation of commodities rather than their production, constituted a new petty bourgeoisie whose class position must be understood as


134 groups of workers, neo-Marxist theorists have hoped to understand why the working classes in Western industrialized countries have not organized themselves to overthrow capitalism and why other non-class axes of organization, including religion or nationality, have proven so potent in recent decades. Michele Barrett (1991), writing about “Marxisant treatments of sociology, politics and economics,” argues that “there has been a potential for engagement with the actuality of non-class divisions, but (to express the situation tactfully) this has remained in many instances a potential rather than a nettle to be grasped.” A more promising avenue for analysis of the role of class and nonclass divisions was opened up with the critique of economism, reductionism, and class essentialism that transformed Western Marxism in the twentieth century. As early as the 1920s, authors such as Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukács, and members of the Frankfurt school broke free of political economy to embrace studies of psychology, philosophy, culture, and politics. Focusing on class consciousness, most likely in response to the emergence of new middle classes and the reformist character of working-class parties in Western Europe, these authors developed a powerful critique of Soviet Marxism’s Positivism, economism, and teleological leanings, and in the process began to accord less pride of place to class analysis. While the extent to which Gramsci’s analysis dethrones class is in dispute, his work on Hegemony has proven enormously influential in understanding political and cultural processes by which dominating classes achieve the consent of the dominated, and clearly contribute to the critique of economism. Stuart Hall’s dissection of Thatcherism in The Great Moving Right Show, for instance, draws heavily on Gramsci to provide important, if controversial, insights into workingclass support for Tory governments. Others contributing to the critique of class essentialism include Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe (1985), whose work has been hailed for its definitive break with reductionism. Declaring themselves to the “post-Marxist,” they reject all “normative epistemologies” and “universal Discourses” in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. In their view, even Gramsci remained tied to economistic definitions of class and to necessary rather than contingent

views of the role of the working class in history. Critics of class essentialism have pointed to the rise in the latter half of the twentieth century of radical social movements that contest limits placed upon persons because of Gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The class position of women had long posed problems for Marxism, and led to a series of unsuccessful attempts, such as the domestic labor debate, to subsume gender into the terms of Marxist class categories. Feminists have attacked such attempts to restore the primacy of class, in analysis of autonomous gender interests as an explanation and motor for contemporary political and social events. In the process, a debate formed around the interaction of class and gender, or the systemic relationship between capitalism and Patriarchy, with one group of theorists arguing that these two operate autonomously (dual systems theory), while others seek to develop various versions of a unified theory. The salience of nationalities as motors of human history has also become ever more clear with the rise of religious and nationalistic movements around the world, and analysis of race, nationality, and ethnicity is proving to be an enormously rich terrain for cultural and political work. The question that remains is whether class analysis has been “superseded.” Certainly the critiques of class essentialism have shifted the focus away from class analysis in cultural studies, but political economy continues to accord class pride of place. Finally, it is perhaps ironic that alternative explanations of politics have arisen precisely at the moment when in both Britain and the United States the class nature of contemporary politics has become even more glaring, and at the moment when global capitalism and its monoculture appear to be on a triumphal march against cultural specificities of all types. As Barrett (1991) points out, the very term “new social movement” implies that a movement is new because it is not class based; that is, the logic of class continues to overshadow even the most determined rejection of class analytics. When standing in the space Marx has cleared, we continue to feel his presence. See also Bourdieu, Pierre; Frankfurt school; Gramsci, Antonio; Hegemony; Lukács, Georg; Marx, Karl; Marxism and marxist criticism; Race–class–gender analysis.

135 Barrett, Michele 1991: The Politics of Truth. Bottomore, T.B. 1965 (1991): Classes in Modern Society. Bourdieu, Pierre 1984: Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Braverman, Harry 1974: Labor and Monopoly Capital. Giddens, Anthony 1973 (1980): The Class Structure of the Advanced Societies. Hall, Stuart 1988: The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left. Laclau, Ernesto, and Mouffe, Chantal 1985: Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Marx, Karl, and Engels, Friedrich 1848: The Manifesto of the Communist Party. Parkin, Frank 1971: Class Inequality and Political Order. Poulantzas, Nicos 1975: Classes in Contemporary Capitalism. Thompson, E.P. 1964: The Making of the English Working Class. Weber, Max 1921 (1968): Economy and Society. Wright, Erik Olin 1985: Classes.

teresa amott classical realism A term used mainly by Marxist and poststructuralist critics to denote the various generic conventions that (supposedly) characterized fictional writing during the period of high bourgeois aesthetic and sociopolitical Hegemony. For some Marxists – Lukács among them – such works still possessed a criticalemancipatory potential, a capacity to encompass (to “concretely portray”) whole worlds of diverse historical and social experience, and thus to reveal the deep-laid conflicts of residual, dominant, and emergent ideologies. For others (for example, Macherey and Eagleton) realism often functions as a mode of false consciousness, a smoothing-over of precisely those conflicts – those stress points in its own ideological project – which can emerge only through a reading in the “symptomatic” mode. This antagonism between rival schools of Marxist thought with regard to the nature, status, and value of nineteenthcentury realism is reproduced in their respective (sharply polarized) attitudes toward literary Modernism and its programmatic break with realist modes of writing. Thus, where Lukács sees modernism as a symptom of late bourgeois cultural decline, Eagleton and Macherey take a modernizing lesson from Brecht in the various techniques of critical reworking (Umfunktion-

ierung) which can draw out the ideological subtexts – the latent contradictions of meaning and structure – that inhabit the conventions of classic bourgeois realism. For poststructuralists like Roland Barthes these conventions are likewise a mere artifice, a ruse whereby the novel attempts to conceal or disavow all the signs of its own cultural production, and thus masquerades as a window upon (or a mirror held up to) reality. Worse still, it performs this work of ideological recruitment by surreptitiously transforming culture into nature, or passing off the values of its own time and place as transcendent, ahistorical truths. Thus the rise of the novel is seen as a cultural phenomenon that reflects – and promotes – the emergence of a dominant bourgeois ideology premised on those same “commonsense” values of autonomous selfhood, possessive individualism, transparent access to “the real,” etc. The task of criticism, conversely, is to analyze the various narrative Codes and devices whereby such illusory values are created and made to appear nothing less than self-evident. This project is carried through to most briliant effect in Barthes’s S /Z, an exhaustive (almost word-by-word) textual exegesis of Balzac’s novella Sarrasine. Here we see the “classic realist text” subjected to a process of disseminative eading which begins by breaking it down into 561 fragments that Barthes calls “lexemes,” or minimal distinctive units of narrative meaning, by loose analogy with “phonemes” in the discourse of structural linguistics. (See also Discourse, Narratology, Structuralism.) Each of these is then assigned to one or more of the five “codes” – the proaieretic (code of actions and events), Hermeneutic (code of puzzles and enigmas), semic (code of character), cultural (code of commonplace or received wisdom), and symbolic (code of deep-laid collective unconscious (for example, gender-role) representation – which traverse the narrative in a ceaseless “polyphony” of intertextual echoes and allusions. Barthes’s purpose in all this is to foreground those moments of crosscode interference or disruption which enable Sarrasine to figure as an exemplary “limit-text,” that is, a work that undermines the conventions of classic bourgeois realism by exposing them to all manner of unresolved Paradox, Aporia, self-deconstructive

classical realism


classification, primitive

136 mise-en-abîme and suchlike obstacles to straightforward Readerly (lisible) consumption. To this extent at least it is a Writerly (scriptible) text, though one whose “parsimonious plurality” of meaning is acknowledged as placing certain constraints upon the range of possibilities thus opened up. There is much that is brilliant, provocative, and liberating – as well as inspirational for the jaded teacher of those “classic realist texts” – in Barthes’s idiosyncratic commentary on Balzac’s once neglected, now celebrated novella. Unfortunately, as often happens, his obiter dicta have been turned by some poststructuralists into just the kind of ironcast orthodoxy that Barthes was so anxious to escape. At any rate there is more to be said in defense of “naive” (or “bourgeois”) realism, some of it said rather effectively by old-school Marxists like Lukács.

Reading Lukács, Georg 1962: The Historical Novel. —— 1963: The Meaning of Contemporary Realism. Barthes, Roland 1973a: S/Z. —— 1982: A Barthes Reader. MacCabe, Colin 1978: James Joyce and the “Revolution of the World.”

christopher norris

characters): the Symbolic (plurality of meaning as it is organized in the process of interpretation): the proaieretic (sequences of actions, or plot); and cultural (references to types of knowledge). For Barthes, the interweaving of these five codes is what constitutes the text, with no single code achieving any kind of overall preponderance. He reads through Balzac’s story, sorting it into categories which are overdetermined by these codes, interspersing it with his own critical text. In so doing, he classifies pieces of text as elements of the codes. Nevertheless, there are points at which he invokes the reader as part of the production of meaning, implying that codes do not completely interpret the text. Since readers can vary, so too, therefore, can the meanings produced, and this problem threatens the provisional stability of his structural codes. Barthes himself moved on from this kind of analysis into a concern with the multiplicity of meaning. His cultural code became more and more problematical, and was replaced with his particular use of the concept of Intertextuality. In this respect he moves into the area covered by Poststructuralism.

Reading Barthes, Roland 1973a (1990): S/Z. Culler, Jonathan 1975 (1989): Structuralist Poetics.


paul innes

codes organizing principles composed of Binary oppositions: a fundamental term in Narratology. Derived from the work of Claude Lévi-strauss on myths, narratological theory specifies that codes function to organize the binary oppositions which constitute the functioning of language. They therefore comprise a homogenizing operation, one which seeks to render meaning into easily understood categories. S/Z (1974) by Roland Barthes is perhaps the literary critical work which most exhaustively employs codes as the foundation of an interpretative method. He reads Balzac’s short story of the same name in terms of five codes: Hermeneutics (formal elements which are organized into binary oppositions such as question/answer): semes (elements of meaning which are constitutive of pieces of Text such as

collective unconscious A term central to Jungian psychology, which refers to the continuum of age-old patterns central to human experience that are deeper than, prior to, and more fundamental than the individual personality. In the same way human beings share common instincts and common physical Structures, they also share a common – collective – stratum of the psyche. From those “objective” inner depths, which are not always gloomy and negative as in the Freudian vision of the subconscious, there emerge certain patterns often experienced by the ego-consciousness as complexes and symptoms, as well as the Symbols and images of dreams, fantasies, and visions. In 1919 Jung adopted the Platonic–Augustinian term archetype to account for the recurring expressions of the symbolic contents of the collective unconscious psyche. See also Archetype; Jung, Carl Gustav.

classification, classification



137 Jung, C.G. 1969b: The Collective Works, Volume 9, Part I: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious.

susan l. fischer

comedy A form of dramatic or narrative plot that emphasizes social integration. Whereas tragedy typically leads to the isolation of a character by accentuating suffering or death, comedy brings about the assimilation of characters into a changed or renewed social order that celebrates marriage, new life, or communal stability. Unlike the theory of tragedy, which has a long tradition that extends back to Aristotle’s Poetics, the theory of comedy is largely a product of twentieth-century thought. Although it is commonly assumed that what is comic is the object of laughter, this is not necessarily so. While comic in the shape of its plot – because it traces the journey of the lost soul through the terrors of hell and the cleansing of purgatory in preparation for the union with God – the narrative of Dante’s Divine Comedy is rarely humorous. In his pioneering study “Laughter” (1900), however, Henri Bergson emphasized the dependence of humor on social organization. The typical object of laughter, he argued, is a human manifestation of mechanical inelasticity, or a rigidity of manner, belief, or personality. When the exposure of such inelasticity leads to laughter, two groups are immediately formed: those who laugh and those at whom the laughter is directed. Laughter is thus a form of social criticism or a force for social conformity, in which those who laugh see more or see differently from those who are laughed at. The danger of laughter, for example, when it is directed against Malvolio in Twelfth Night, is that the one against whom it is directed may become permanently alienated from the community that laughs. If the laughter is generous and its object pliable, however, the result may be a release from rigidity and an incorporation of the one who was formerly excluded from the community into a new and larger social order. Writing independently of Bergson, Freud in 1905 published Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. An important function of jokes, he argued, lies in their power to overcome a person’s defenses against the content of a witicism, a

content that a person might ordinarily resist if it were presented in another form. In this sense, form becomes a verbal or artistic equivalent of a psychological defense structure by making what was threatening tolerable. In 1948 Northrop Frye published his highly influential essay “The argument of comedy,” which he later expanded into a full comic theory in Anatomy of Criticism. Frye noted that there are two fundamentally different kinds of comedy: one which descends from the “old comedy” of Aristophanes and the other from the “new comedy” of Plautus and Terence. The basic assumption in the old comedy is that the structures of society are immutable and that aberrations can only be held up to ridicule. After a brief period of festive holiday, life returns to normal and conformity reasserts itself, or the deviant and defiant are banished. But in the new comedy, which had a profound influence on Shakespeare, the basic assumption is that social structures can be reshaped. Thus, what may begin as a rigidly alienating social order, as at the beginning of A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It, can itself be transformed and made to conform to individual human needs or desires. Such plots often require a temporary escape from a rigid order of law or custom, a sojourn into a natural place, and then a return to a regenerated social world. (Here the pattern is strikingly similar to that outlined in the Bible in Isaiah 35–6.) Frye’s account of old and new comedy historicizes the tensions that Bergson and Freud detected in laughter and jokes. A common element in plots that include the creation or regeneration of a vital social order is that they depict or elicit a kind of ecstasy, literally a coming out of the self for the sake of participation in a Ritual of artistic communion that parallels or derives its power from religious celebration.

Reading Bergson, Henri 1900 (1980): “Laughter.” Freud, Sigmund 1905 (1960): Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. Frye, Northrop 1957: Anatomy of Criticism.

michael payne comics A series of sequential images that convey a story. Some comics are published in




138 magazine forms called comic books. The word “comic” is a misnomer because, although many are humorous, most comic books today relate exciting adventure stories and drama. Despite the efforts of many publishers and critics alike to change the genre’s appellation to “sequential art” or “graphic novels,” the term “comic” appears to have stuck. Comics have been praised as one of the few uniquely American art forms. Although comic art dates back to ancient times, such as cave drawings, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Greek vases, the idea of putting words and pictures together did not gain popularity until the 1700s. In 1754 Benjamin Franklin urged the American colonies to unite in his cartoon, “Join, or Die,” depicting a segmented snake that represented the disjointed colonies. During the 1800s many American artists created political cartoons, using such artforms as prints, woodcuts, and lithographs. Harper’s Weekly regularly featured the extremely influential work of Thomas Nast. In 1832 the French artist, Honoré Daumier (known as the father of modern cartooning) served six months in prison for drawing a caricature of King Louis Philippe entitled Gargantua. It would not be the last time the comic artform would suffer such undue response. In February 1896 the New York World newpaper tested its new yellow ink by printing it on the main character in Richard F. Outcault’s comic, “Hogan’s Alley.” It increased circulation to such an extent that the future of the comic strip was assured. The basic idea of reprinting existing comic strips into a tabloid did not originate until the early 1900s. That brainstorm can be attributed to the famous journalist and publisher, William Randolph Hearst, who gathered Outcault’s “funnies” into a short-lived publication called the Yellow Kid Magazine. It took more than three decades before someone thought about collecting new stories into the comic book form. In 1933 Max Gaines published the first original comic book, which was entitled Funnies on Parade. Two years later Walt Disney entered the industry, and the comics boom was under way. By the end of the decade, many publishers who had dealt with pulp fiction made the move to the comics industry. The advent of these adventureoriented creators led to the birth of the pivotal

force that would define the future of comic books for good or ill – the super hero. This super hero was, of course, Superman, created by two Cleveland college students, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. A year later, costumed characters such as Batman, Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and Captain Marvel proliferated in the printed page of most comic magazines. The 1939–45 war prompted the need for patriotic super heroes. Subtle propaganda for the war effort depicted these heroes battling against the villainy of the Third Reich. Several nonsuper hero concepts emerged during this period, most notably Archie in 1942. After the war the popularity of the super hero slowly declined, to be replaced with a growing interest in humor, romance, science fiction, war, and westerns. In 1950 William Gaines pioneered several series of horror comics under the imprint of Entertaining Comics (EC). Four years later, however, a book entitled Seduction of the Innocent was published by Dr Frederic Wertham, a longtime vociferous critic of comic books. Its accusations led to public hearings by the US Senate Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency on the allegedly ill effects upon children of reading comic books. These hearings led to the institution of the self-regulatory Comics Code Authority, which spelled the end for EC’s horror line. Within a year, all EC books except Mad were discontinued. DC Comics, the publishers of Superman and Batman, dominated the super hero market, or what was left of it, for the next few years. Then the creative team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby at Marvel Comics introduced The Fantastic Four in 1961, followed by The Hulk and The Amazing SpiderMan. Unlike their predecessors, these characters were not perfect or godlike. They had real human problems to which their audience could relate. Meanwhile, in 1967, the first “underground comic,” Zap, was created by Robert Crumb. Underground comics reflected the new freedom of the late 1960s. They explored themes such as sex, drugs, and the Counterculture movement through unique visual images. The 1970s was a period of slight decline that was turned around in the 1980s by the directdistribution market catering for comic book specialty shops. This system nurtured the development of

139 (Pantheon, 1988) and the second volume, subtitled And Here My Troubles Began (Pantheon, 1991) a large number of general readers are for the first time experiencing a new kind of adultoriented graphic storytelling. Maus has enjoyed phenomenal success, including a long run on the New York Times best-seller list and a welldeserved Pulitzer Prize. It dispenses with the narrow conventions and existential confines dictated by its comic predecessors. At its most basic level, Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a survivor of Auschwitz, as told to his son, Artie. Spiegelman substitutes animals for different types of humans. Jews are portrayed as mice, Nazis as cats, and Americans as dogs. This narrative device ironically casts the human condition in a more harrowing light. Spiegelman is acutely aware of the comic medium’s power to make things very immediate, pushing them into your mind in ways other media do not. Unfortunately, most of the comics published in the English-speaking world are still genrebound. This shortcoming is due to the fact that most of the comic creators are those who grew up reading comics. Thus it becomes a self-selecting group. Until that mindset is challenged, comic books, including ones like Maus, will continue to be relegated to the juvenile section of your local book store.

Reading Benton, Mike 1989: The Comic Book in America. Daniels, Les 1991: Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics. Eisner, Will 1985: Comics & Sequential Art. Fox, Martin, ed. 1988: Print. Levin, Bob 1988: “Comics.” McCloud, Scott 1993: Understanding Comics.

glenn a. herdling communication, communication

phatic See


communicative action Communicative action is central to Habermas’s claim that interpersonal understanding is dependent on norms of truth, sincerity, justice, and freedom. Whether acknowledged or not, uncoerced agreement requires that dialog partners have equal chances to deploy Speech acts, and utterances are

communicative action

the independent market, which introduced titles such as Dave Sim’s Cerebus the Aardvark, a modern satire in which stinging parodistic dialogue is combined with impeccable timing and storytelling. The major comic book publishers, such as Marvel and DC, developed higher-quality formats which showcased the artistic merit of the medium. However, these publishers were still primarily interested in super hero fare skewed toward the younger reader. That is not to say that there were no super hero comics that adults could not sink their teeth into. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (1986) portrays a middle-aged Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement to visit his wrath upon Gotham City’s criminal element once again as the Batman. But his obsession with criminals begins to spill over into psychosis. Miller’s Batman becomes a violent Symbol of American dissolution and idealism. Frank Miller and artist Bill Sienkiewicz reintroduced a sophisticated version of a character already familiar to Marvel fans in Elektra: Assassin (1986), a story of savage political satire mixed with psychodrama, surrealism, and stream of consciousness storytelling. Perhaps the best new series of 1986 was DC’s Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. This richly textured story explores what super heroes would be like in the real world. Gibbons’s collaboration with Moore redefined the relationship between image and word in the comic book. There is a subtle interplay between the two that is the goal and the challenge of the medium. Nevertheless, many critics feel that creators like Miller and Moore are only leading audiences of arrested adolescents into a childlike adultishness, ignoring the possibilities that exist within the medium. Europe and Asia have typically embraced comics as reading matter suitable for adults, therefore their results have been a more sophisticated product, both visually and thematically, than the super hero comics in the United States. Recognizing an audience other than adolescent boys prompted European and Asian publishers to realize the need for other topicality. Only recently have those foreign concepts begun to influence the English-speaking world of comics. With the advent of Art Spiegelman’s best-selling and critically acclaimed Maus: A Survivor’s Tale

communitarian ethics

140 comprehensible, true, appropriate, and sincerely spoken. Communicative action is illocutionary speech where validity claims are open to public scrutiny, making possible an ideal consensus based solely on the force of better argument. This emacipatory dimension of language, however, is counterfactual – it is recovered through philosophical critique rather than empirical observation. Hence it is also known as the “ideal speech situation.”

Reading Habermas, J. 1981 (1987): Theory of Communicative Action.

laurence j. ray

communitarian ethics A currently influential movement of thought in Anglo-American ethical and political philosophy, it holds that our best – indeed our only – source of wisdom and guidance in these matters is the appeal to what counts as good, humane, responsible, or civilized conduct according to the standards and values that prevail within our own cultural community. This means rejecting any “formalist” (for example, Kantian) idea of ethical judgment as based on abstract principles – or universal maxims – which must then be somehow applied to particular cases through the exercise of a faculty (“practical reason”) that supposedly transcends all localized differences of interest, custom, peer-group loyalty, religious affiliation, political culture, etc. It is simply not possible, these thinkers maintain, to adopt such a standpoint above or beyond all the values, beliefs, and social obligations that constitute a shared way of life for the agents concerned. Alasdair MacIntyre’s controversial book After Virtue (1980) provides the most elaborate statement of this communitarian position in ethics and political theory. According to MacIntyre we live in a world of fragmented beliefs and value systems which – as he describes them in the book’s arresting first paragraph – resemble the wreckage from some natural or manmade catastrophe, some event that has left us with just bits and pieces from which to reconstruct the science, the technology, and the entire lost Culture of Western civilization. In ethical terms the catastrophe has occurred through the loss of those organic values

– that sustaining sense of communal participation and purpose – which once enabled a philosopher like Aristotle to link the private with the public virtues, or the conduct of a rich and fulfilling individual life with the conduct of one’s affairs in the wider (civic or sociopolitical) sphere. Thus the history of Western post-Hellenic ethical thought is the history of a long – indeed epochal – decline into various forms of morally debilitating dualism. Chief among these are the public/private dichotomy, the split between “rational” and “emotive” or “evaluative” orders of judgment, and – equally disastrous in MacIntyre’s view – the Kantian elevation of pure moral will into an abstract (universal) set of maxims and imperatives. This produces the idea of morality as a law whose very nature is to thwart all the pleasures of a life lived in accordance with our best (most humanly satisfying) forms of personal and collective endeavor. Hence the predominantly somber cast of MacIntyre’s historical reflections. What we have lost, perhaps beyond recall, is that eudaimonic (Aristotelian) conception of the virtues that saw no need for any such conflict between moral obligation and the natural desire to make the best use of our innate dispositions, talents, and practical skills. This was a conception that equated the good with a full and unimpeded exercise of whatever activities conduced to our all-round wellbeing as citizens, thinkers, artists, soldiers, politicians, or creatures whose happiness is at every point bound up with our role as members of a flourishing cultural community. It also included a certain narrative element, that is, a capacity to view our own life-projects as contributing to a story whose meaning and significance derived from its enactment within that same context of communally sanctioned purposes, values, and beliefs. But again we have lived on, as MacIntyre argues, into an epoch of splintered value-spheres which set up a false dichotomy between what is good for us as private individuals in quest of personal fulfillment and what is good for “society” (or the public interest) conceived as imposing a stern moral check upon our “lower,” self-seeking, unregenerate instincts and desires. On occasion MacIntyre appears to be suggesting that we might yet come up with some replacement narrative, some revived sense of communal meaning and purpose that would

141 deemed meaningful or worth a hearing by members of our communal peer group. So there is still the question – as posed by MacIntyre – of what could then count as an adequate reason or ethical justification for opposing policies adopted in the name of “liberal democracy” but serving to promote (say) the interests of US global Hegemony or those of one particular well-placed socioeconomic group. Hence the very different senses of the word “liberal” espoused on the one hand by egalitarian thinkers like John Rawls, and on the other by conservative defenders of a classical free-market Liberalism such as Robert Nozick. From Walzer’s communitarian standpoint one would have to conclude simply that each way of thinking had its place among the range of currently available options, and therefore that any judgment between them could only be a matter of private inclination or group loyalty. This argument draws on various sources in philosophy and Cultural theory. Hegel was the first to criticize Kant for his abstract conception of morality and his failure to reckon with the range of diverse value-commitments – political, social, civic, and familial – that made up the realm of Hegelian ethical Sittlichkeit. From the later work of Wittgenstein it takes the idea that we can go no further in explaining or justifying certain “language games” or “forms of life” than simply to remark that they make good sense – and have no need of such justification – when viewed in the context of our cultural traditions, linguistic practices, and so forth. There is also a marked elective affinity between communitarian ethics and certain strains of postmodernist thinking, not least on account of their shared antipathy toward the truth claims and values of Enlightenment critique. This kinship emerges most clearly in the narrative turn – or the appeal to “first-order natural pragmatic” story-telling modes – which Jean-François Lyotard offers as a postmodern substitute for those old (now defunct) “meta-narrative” absolutes of freedom, progress, justice, truth-at-the-end-of-inquiry, etc. It is also evident in Richard Rorty’s neopragmatist idea that truth is nothing more than what is (currently and contingently) “good in the way of belief.” On this view philosophy is best employed in devising new narratives, metaphors, styles of creative self-description, etc., by which to promote the ongoing cultural “conversation of mankind.”

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mend this chronically disabling condition of divided moral identity. Elsewhere he writes more in the gloomily diagnostic mode of one who believes that the sickness is so far advanced that no such salvation is any longer possible. MacIntyre’s arguments are open to various criticisms. One is that his ethical and political values are deeply conservative, not only in their backward-looking attachment to ancient Greek notions of social virtue but also in their failure to register – and criticize – the massive (indeed structural) injustices that went along with the Greek way of life. Thus he, like Aristotle, appears oddly blind to the flagrant partiality (not to say hypocrisy) of an ethics that on the one hand cherishes this human need for enhanced selffulfillment through the exercise of everyone’s innate gifts and talents, while on the other condoning the existence of a slave and female population defined (in effect) as subhuman and hence proscribed from exerting any claim to possession of those same gifts and talents. Another, more generalized version of this criticism has to do with the incapacity of communitarian ethics to explain (or justify) the dissident stance of those who on principle – or in good conscience – feel obliged to reject the prevailing beliefs, customs, values, or social mores of their own cultural community. According to MacIntyre there is just no way that such justification can be had, requiring as it does an appeal to alternative (extra-communal) grounds, reasons, or principles which signal the lapse into yet another version of those baneful Kantian antinomies. This is not to suggest that all thinkers of a communitarian persuasion adopt so deeply conservative a view of the goods that we have lost through our agelong slide into a medley of diverse, competing ethical values. Some others – Michael Walzer among them – adopt a pluralist outlook which appears far removed from MacIntyre’s position. Thus Walzer takes it as the chief virtue of our present way of life in the Western Liberal democracies that they are able to support such a range of diverse creeds, ideologies, and lifestyles without giving rise to fundamental conflicts that would tear society apart. However, this pluralism turns out to have certain limits, namely those defined by our belonging to a given cultural community within which some (and not other) modes of speech, thought, and conduct are

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142 Some critics – myself included – hold that this amounts to nothing more than a handy pretext for postmodern attitudes of uncritical acquiescence in the current self-images of the age. See also Civil society; End of philosophy, Ethics, Interpretative communities; Nussbaum, Martha, Political philosophy; Williams, Bernard.

Reading Benhabib, Seyla M. 1992: Situating the Self: Gender, Community and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics. MacIntyre, Alasdair 1980: After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. —— 1988: Whose Justice? Which Rationality? Nussbaum, Martha C. 1980: Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature. Rorty, Richard 1989: Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Sandel, Michael 1982: Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. Walzer, Michael 1983: Spheres of Justice: A Defence of Pluralism and Equality. —— 1987: Interpretation and Social Criticism. Williams, Bernard 1985: Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.

christopher norris

communities, interpretative pretative communities

See Inter-

comparative literature The study of literatures across frontiers. Originally coined in the early nineteenth century, the term became highly controversial in the twentieth century owing to differing usages and interpretations. Some scholars have seen it as essentially literary history, following Goethe’s concept of Weltliteratur; some have seen it as a field of study comparing the “soul” or “spirit” of different Cultures; others have sought to demonstrate the certainty or otherwise of “influence” between writers. The so-called French school promoted binary study between two authors or literary Systems, in contrast to the American school which argued for wide cross-disciplinary comparison. These two approaches were often reflected in a terminological distinction that sought to demonstrate a difference between

“comparative” and “general” literature. Emphasis on the relationship between literature and national culture in the nineteenth century led to reaction in the twentieth century when comparative literature came under the dominance of Formalism, and the focus was on belief in the myth of the universal civilizing power of literature regardless of cultural context. Since the 1970s comparative literature has moved away from the debates on what or how to compare that had so concerned formalist scholars. There has also been a move away from the earlier focus on canonical Texts and prioritization of European and North American literature in favour of a much broader systemic approach that compares and contrasts means of literary production, changing cultural contexts, and the role of literary texts in different national traditions. It is possible to argue that a great deal of exciting, innovative work in comparative literature today is taking place in programs defined variously as gender studies, Postcolonial studies, intercultural studies. This tendency reflects the abandonment of attempts to demonstrate that comparative literature is a discipline in its own right in favor of an approach that sees comparative literature as it was originally conceived in the 1820s, that is, as a methodology. Comparative literature today is a term used to describe programs of study that cross national or linguistic boundaries (for example, European studies, African studies, Caribbean studies) and to describe research that considers the transmission of texts across cultures. It draws upon comparative anthropology, Discourse theory, reception theory, Translation studies, Cultural materialism, and a range of other approaches. In Europe and North America it is primarily a term used to describe an approach to literary study that is not restricted to a single system and is in the process of shaking off its formalist legacy. In other parts of the world it is a term used to discuss the relationship between national literature and other literary Systems and is therefore an intensely politicized form of literary study. There is an international comparative literature association and a large number of separate national associations, many of which publish their own journals and hold interdisciplinary seminars and conferences.

143 Bassnett, Susan 1993: Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction. Eagleton, Terry 1983: Literary Theory: An Introduction. Koelb, Clayton, and Noakes, Susan, eds 1988: The Comparative Perspective on Literature. Approaches to Theory and Practice. Lefeveré, André 1992: Translation, Rewriting and the Manipulation of Literary Fame. Levin, Harry 1972: Refractions. Essays in Comparative Literature. Majumdar, Swapan 1987: Comparative Literature, Indian Dimensions. Prawer, Siegbert 1973: Comparative Literary Studies: An Introduction. Schultz, H.J. and Rhein, P.H., eds 1973: Comparative Literature, The Early Years. Warren, Austin, and Wellek, René 1968: Theory of Literature. Weisstein, Ulrich 1974: Comparative Literature and Literary Theory. Wellek, René 1970: Discriminations: Further Concepts of Criticism.

susan bassnett

comparative racialization Understanding racialization as the process and mechanism by which race becomes a structuring principle in social, economic, political, and cultural relations requires comparative perspectives across time and space. Race becomes a term of value, negative or positive, only when comparisons are made, because comparisons produce differences between us and them, between the self and the other. Racialization is therefore also a psychological mechanism and process. While race never stands alone from other categories of difference such as gender and class, its instrumentalization through negative comparisons is at the core of the European colonial project that began towards the end of the fifteenth century. Each instance of racialization in different historical periods and geographical contexts may be unique, but Western colonialism, the event that heralded race as a structuring principle, provides historical coherence to the globalization of racial thinking and racism. As a research method, to think racialization comparatively therefore means not only to analyze specificities of each instance of racialization in different historical periods and geographical locations, but also to examine how the worldwide colonial turn informs these specific instances to

be potentially related to one another. To think comparatively therefore is to think about the world where the colonial turn has left indelible marks; that is, to think the worldliness of race. The Matter of Comparison “The black man is comparaison.” When Franz Fanon wrote this enigmatic statement in chapter 7 of Peau noire, masques blancs (1952; Black Skin, White Masks) he meant comparison of two types, which he called Adlerian and Antillean, respectively. In Alfred Adler’s psychology of behavioral disorder, the ego is supposed to want to be always greater than the other to compensate for the injustice it has suffered and inferiority it has been made to feel. Adlerian comparison juxtaposes the ego and the other and is a two-term relation. The black man, who suffers an extreme case of this disorder, always compares himself to other blacks, inferiorizing them to the point of wishing for their “collapse,” turning them into objects who are denied individuality and liberty, with the narcissism of “Me, me, me” hoisting up his painfully constructed superiority (Fanon, 2008, pp. 185–7). The fact that comparaison can be both French and Creole and as a creolism is an adjective meaning “contemptuous” or “contemptible” further emphasizes the disdain the black man feels towards other blacks. Comparison is an enactment of contempt onto others. In Adlerian comparison the governing fiction is therefore personal; it is about the comparison of one black man against other black men, the contempt of one black men for other black men. The Antillean black man’s comparison obsession adds a layer of complexity to the Adlerian model. For Fanon, the Antillean likely sees himself as white, and so when he compares himself to other blacks, he does so “under the patronage of the white man.” He judges other blacks with white eyes. Comparison therefore involves three terms here – the ego, the other, and the ideology of whiteness – and changes the governing fiction from the personal to the social. Fanon explains that the source of the black man’s neurosis is not other black men but the colonial society that has educated the black man to see the world from white perspectives. This is why the black man’s neurosis is not an individual but a social symptom, as the entire Antillean society is a “neurotic society, a comparaison society.” This tripartite

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144 relationship characterizes the Antillean comparison (Fanon, 2008, pp. 185–91). Fanon’s astute movement from the individual to the social brings the social – what he earlier in the book called “the lived experience of the black man” (2008, p. 89) – into psychoanalysis. Race is a psychological experience, because it is a social one, thanks to the Antillean’s ideological induction to whiteness through education or lived experience of space. As a concrete example, Fanon describes what it is like to walk down different streets in Fort-de-France, where one can determine which street is the “most comparaison,” depending on the degree to which the black man feels “exposed” – that is, inferiorized by other blacks (2008, p. 186). The street and the classroom, like other spaces in the colony, embody the material social where the whitederived, contempt-filled comparative consciousness is produced and activated, and then applied to other blacks. Comparison, as Fanon conceptualized it, indexes the psychic and the social condition of being colonized. In the colony, the black man’s contempt is directed towards other black men, while the subject himself lives the lie of his fictive whiteness, as do the other black men. But when the Antillean goes to the metropole, something dramatic happens. Very simply, he becomes a negro. No longer in the majority and now having direct encounters with the actual white gaze – condescending, scornful, or phobic – the black man is forced to give up his narcissism. He himself becomes the object of contempt and comparison, not only by the white people but by himself, since he now also judges himself from white perspectives. For the negro, this metropolitan comparison and contempt is now directed at the self, rather than at the others. The self becomes its own object. Two points about comparison can be drawn from this reading of Fanon. First, the differences between the dynamics of racialization in the colony and those in the metropole evince the particularity of each instance as place-based (the colony and the metropole) and time-specific (the before and after of arrival in the metropole), but in each instance, comparison is constitutive of the process of racialization. Second, the black man from the colony is the same man that goes to the metropole, which shows that the two

different processes of racialization are contiguous. This contiguity is not accidental, but is a historical consequence of the colonial turn. Comparison between the colony and the metropole, this case shows, is about relationality, not relativism. If racialization is inherently comparative, a psychosocial and historical process, then we are working against the meaning of comparison as the arbitrary juxtaposition of two terms in difference and similarity, replacing it with comparison as the recognition and activation of relations that entail two or more terms. This second form of comparison brings submerged or displaced relationalities into view and reveals these relationalities as the starting point of a fuller understanding of racialization as a comparative process. In the United States, the call to go beyond the black–white racial binary has motivated various scholars to consider more nuanced relational models for comparative racialization. One useful example is Claire Jean Kim’s notion of racial triangulation, which proposes that in the USA there is a distinct triangulation process in the relationship among blacks, Asian Americans, and whites. In this triangulation, Asian Americans are granted “relative valorization” over blacks but suffer from “civic ostracism” by the dominant white society. Kim argues that racialization does not take the form of either a single hierarchy or separate trajectories for different peoples of color but occurs in a “field of racial positions,” and that these positions are also produced in relation to each other. The model minoritization of Asian Americans keeps black demands for racial justice at bay and the civic ostracization of Asian Americans ensures that they will never gain equal footing with whites (Kim, 1999; also see Lye, 2008). Racial triangulation, in this usage, is an effective heuristic device to bring into view relationalities that conventional binary models obscure or displace. If one places three related terms under the pressure of triangulation, new insights emerge. The ethical question, however, pivots on the choice of what three terms to place under pressure, on the selective valorization of these three terms over others, and the possible consequence of diminishing returns in regard to interracial solidarities. The calls to go beyond the black–white binary in American race studies are

145 Fanon has been credited as having been the earliest in the twentieth century to theorize the term “racialization” in Les damnés de la terre (1961; The Wretched of the Earth) before sociologist Michael Banton took it up and gave the term a detailed analysis in his 1977 book The Idea of Race (see Murji and Solomos, 2007, p. 7). Fanon ties racialization to comparison in a sense different from what has been discussed above. What concerns Fanon is something he calls the racialisation de la pensée (“racialization of thought”) on the part of the native intellectuals in Africa who replicate the European colonizer’s tendency to think of Africa as a single unit. Even though they intend to use negritude and other positive constructions of Africanness to refute Eurocentric condemnation of Africa, their pattern of thinking mimics that of the colonizer; hence their thought is racialized. According to Fanon, this tendency to think of Africa as a single unit, whether cultural or political, and not as an aggregate of geopolitically specific nations and national cultures, led native intellectuals to a “dead end.” The invention of “African” culture as a unified “cultural matrix” cannot overturn the presumed prestige of the colonizers’ civilization and instead traps native intellectuals in a reactive, non-transformative act, which Fanon bitingly describes as mired in “terribly sterile clichés,” engaging in a “banal quest for the exotic,” or clinging to “a nucleus that is increasingly shriveled, increasingly inert, and increasingly hollow.” This cultural matrix, an essentialized culturalism or culturalized essentialism recuperated through fossilized tradition, is cut off from the real events of the day and the need for concrete anticolonial political work that must occur on the national level. For culture to make a difference, it cannot be continental but must first and foremost be national. In opposition to essentialized tradition, national culture is a culture of becoming created by the people who partake of it. Instead of perpetuating the racialization of thought, which is an inverted replication of colonial thinking, native intellectuals must take objective comparisons among the different nations and their histories in Africa seriously and carefully, so that they are not just comparing between old “coins” or “sarcophagi” (Fanon, 2004, pp. 145–80). Racialized thought produces useless comparisons that serve no purpose

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more likely to result in new insights on Asian Americans and Latinas/os (see Alcoff, 2000) than on other people of color, especially Native Americans. In other words, some terms may appear more readily triangulatable than others, while some may just disappear or fade into the background, as happens with the binary model. For instance, the call to transcend the binary has not brought the case of Native Americans into sustained triangulation; instead, a sanctioned ignorance persists regarding how issues of Native American rights, land, and cultural preservation must unsettle the framing and articulation of minority issues. Intellectual and political efforts to join the causes of indigenous peoples with those of minority groups have at best been anemic, just as the racial state intentionally stalls resolution of indigenous issues. Scholars suggested that W.E.B. Du Bois’s famous “colorline” statement, first published in 1897 and then included in The Souls of Black Folk in 1903, marked the moment that redness disappeared from US racial imagination (Conn, 2004), prompting Yael Ben-Zvi to ask, not without a tint of sarcasm, “Where did red go?” Ben-Zvi argues that Native Americans are viewed as the “vanishing ancestors” of white America through which redness is made to disappear into whiteness, Native American culture and history becoming a property inherited by the white national community. The disappearance of redness coincided with the increased visibility of other colors in different historical periods – black, yellow, brown – and, after 9/11, the rise of Islamophobia in search of a color and a race. The settler colonialism of Asians in Hawaii vis-à-vis native Hawaiians is another historical instance of triangulation among whites (haoles), Asians, and the indigenous people that requires sustained analysis, but studies on this subject remain limited (Fujikane, 2000; Trask, 2000). Lest comparative racialization ends up displacing yet another marginalized group and constructing yet another implicit hierarchy in a contradiction of insight and blindness, empowerment and disempowerment, it must at each instance be critical of its own assumptions and conclusions. Here we may turn to Fanon again, to his insistence on the specificity of a given situation of racialization, and on the necessity to demarcate the boundary of this situation rigorously.

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146 but to reinforce the reification of culture and the alienation of native intellectuals from their people. From racialization as a comparative psychosocial process to the need to decolonize thought by making useful comparisons and by thinking culture nationally and creatively, Fanon clearly links racialization to colonialism’s project as simultaneously psychological, socioeconomic, and epistemological, and proposes that decolonization has to be not only about politics but also about psychology and epistemology. Decolonization must also be a multidisciplinary, if not an interdisciplinary, project, since the beginning of racial thinking during the colonial turn was also the advent of disciplinarity in more than one sense of the word. The Colonial Turn The sociologist Michael Banton identifies racialization broadly, as a historical process “whereby a mode of categorization was developed, applied tentatively in European historical writing and then, more confidently, to the populations of the world” (Banton, 1977, pp. 18–19). The origin of racial discourse can be traced back to the dawn of European colonialism in the fifteenth century, the historical moment theorized by Emmanuel Wallerstein as the beginning of the capitalist world system, heralding a process of globalization that has intensified over the centuries (Wallerstein, 2000). Race becomes a concept around this time and it emerges contemporaneously with Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in West Africa and the Americas (Goldberg, 1993, pp. 21–4). The Spanish and Portuguese empires having been on the wane and replaced by French, German, and British empires by the eighteenth century, scholars tie the rise of the discourse of race more assuredly with Enlightenment thought. Emmanuel Eze’s reader, Race and the Enlightenment, gathers excerpts of primary documents on race from the period, showing how Enlightenment thinkers justified racial hierarchy using arguments that could be characterized as belonging to such disciplines as natural history, climatology, evolutionary biology, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of history, anthropology, and cultural geography. David Theo Goldberg and Charles Mills offer trenchant critiques of European philosophy from classical liberalism and Enlightenment thought to contemporary American pragmatism and

neoliberalism as having contributed to producing historically specific forms of racial thinking. For Goldberg, classical liberalism’s utilitarian justification for colonialism, fictive construction of morality, narrow and self-serving definition of rationality, selective granting of rights, and production of the “savage” formed a well rationalized and thorough set of arguments justifying racisms of that time and after (Goldberg, 1993, pp. 14–40). For Mills, the political theory of social contract as elaborated by Hobbs, Rousseau, Locke, and Kant, from the mid-seventeenth century to roughly the end of the eighteenth century, is fundamentally informed by racial thinking. It propagates a white supremacist political subjectivity, epistemology, and understanding and practice of morality; it is supported by European colonialism, American genocide, and the exploitation of slave labor – that is, through violence and economic exploitation, as well as ideological domination. The theory races non-white individuals into subpersons, and races non-white spaces into spaces of ignorance and immorality; in sum, it produces white supremacist values. Moral and ethical philosophy has a racial underside, and the philosophers, suffering from a “moral cognitive dysfunction,” exercise a sanctioned ignorance via evasion and self-deception (Mills, 1997, p. 95). The social contract, according to Mills, is therefore the racial contract, by which Enlightenment humanism determines who qualifies as human. He then further extends this argument to a critique of American pragmatism as, in effect, a form of racial liberalism, which has unswervingly displaced the material and social experience of the racialized (Mills, 2008). In the neoliberal twenty-first century, the supermacy of the color-blind discourse is a continuance of such displacement: it is not that racism has disappeared, but that it is supposed to have outlasted its usefulness as a category, to have outlived its meanings, and to have lost its social purchase (Goldberg, 2008; Mills, 2008). Sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant (1994) had earlier historicized the rise of color-blind ideology as part of the long neoconservative reaction to the gains of civil rights movement within the USA, which was also aided by liberals themselves, including the policies of Bill Clinton. Goldberg (1993, pp. 136–8) further exposed that the neoliberal theory of rational choice would presume


Race and Discipline As an outcome of the Enlightenment, the production of race as a discourse coincided with the production of new disciplines and with a finer taxonomy of disciplines. Kant was one of the most famous occasional anthropologists; in his various lectures and articles, especially those posthumously collected as Physische Geographie (Physical Geography), he presents racial categorization in terms of natural history and inscribes values to races from different geographic and climate zones. While we associate Kant with the early phase of the discipline of anthropology, discipline in these articles refers to the disciplining of indigenous people. In characterizing different kinds of black people, for instance, he describes how “The Moors, like all inhabitants of the hot zones have a thick skin; when one disciplines them, one cannot hit with sticks but rather whip with split canes, so that the blood finds a way out and does not suppurate under the skin” (Kant, 1995, p. 61). The description of a physical characteristic (thick skin) transitions quickly to how to discipline the bearer of this skin, as if one implies the other naturally or inevitably, indicating a consensus between author and reader, a community to which both

belong. According to the author’s pseudoscience, drawing blood is more considerate or even more humane for this skin type, so one must whip with sharp split canes. In one breath, Kant weds a physical characteristic to colonial labor exploitation and the right way of doing it – how to whip morally, so to speak. When Kant does justify this “discipline,” he notes that the inhabitants in the hottest zones of the world are so “exceptionally lethargic” that “rule and force” are needed to mitigate their laziness (Kant, 1995, p. 64). The equivalences established between industriousness, rationality, and virtue typical of Enlightenment philosophy clearly operate here. Kant the anthropologist was simultaneous with Kant the philosopher, but in the former role he has been judged to be not only “unsystematic and incoherent” but also, rightly, “prejudicial to the extreme.” This prejudice throws doubt on his otherwise consistent championing of ethical universalism and cosmopolitan principles. When put under the pressure of his anthropological thinking, Kant’s philosophical universalism becomes an “intensely discriminatory code masquerading as the universal good” (Harvey, 2001, pp. 210–11; see also Eze, 1995; Bernasconi, 2001). Even scholars who try to analyze Kant’s racism in more complex ways cannot but admit the “undeniable ugliness of this aspect of his thought” (Hedrick, 2008, p. 268). But this is not for want of universalism in Kant’s anthropological work – Kant founded his universalism on a belief in monogenism and the indivisibility of the human species, according to which differences arise not among species but in the same (human) species; hence differences are determined by geography and climate. This is what Etienne Balibar (2008) calls the anthropological paradigm that is in a state of “decomposition.” Challenges from political philosophy, sociology, and other disciplines supplanted anthropology as more able to deal with the question of race in its varying social and political realities. How to expose the dark underside of Enlightenment thinking and its offspring while making them fulfill their promise of universal humanism continues to be a challenge today, a challenge that Franz Fanon also considered worthy. A belief in a universal humanism where “genuine communication” is possible and universal freedom is achievable supported Fanon’s analysis of the psychopathologies of colonialism (Fanon,

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that even racism is economically rational, the choice one makes as a self-interested social actor. Rational-choice theory may be the contemporary mode of extreme utilitarianism, another offspring of classical liberalism and Enlightenment thought (Palumbo-Liu, 2005). The contemporary phase of globalization throws up new racisms – what David Goldberg, Michael Omi, Howard Winant, Etienne Balibar, and many others have variously called “color-blind racism,” “racism without races,” “raceless racism,” or “racisms without racism.” In the case of France, due to the legacy of Republican liberalism, race has largely been disavowed as an analytic and a social category, while realities of racial inequality have been largely ignored. The postcivil rights American ideology of color-blindness mimics the same disavowal under the sign of neoliberalism. Globalization of racial thinking since the colonial turn has led to this conjuncture of color-blind ideologies in different parts of the world, constantly producing different forms of disavowels to better manage changing historical realities of racialized peoples.

comparative racialization

148 2008, p. 206). His choice of disciplines in this endeavor included psychoanalysis, philosophy, and literature. The disciplining of race was also at the foundation of the all of these three disciplines. Ranjana Khana has critiqued the racialized construction of the “dark continent,” Celia Brickman the primitivizing of the natives, and Jacques Derrida the “apoliticism” and Eurocentrism of psychoanalysis. Others, like Edward Said, have analyzed literature’s complicity with racial thinking, colonialism, and orientalism (Said, 1979, 1993). In addition, photography, often in conjunction with anthropology, was a prominent colonial technology used to produce certain images of the natives in order to better manage them (Poole, 1997), not unlike philosophy, history, law, education, and indeed most other disciplines as we know them. Colonial racism and its modern day variants were by all means a multidisciplinary effort. Knowing the embeddedness of these disciplines within colonial ideology, the decolonial, postcolonial, or minority intellectual has perhaps two choices. One choice is to express endless anxiety over the racialization of thought through an infinite critique of the derivative nature of disciplines and their theories. For a time, several postcolonial scholars made this choice, and some of the most significant conceptual breakthroughs in Anglophone postcolonial theory were arguably in this vein. Anthropology as the colonial discipline par excellence has for the past decades led a soul-searching critique of itself, with very mixed results (Said, 2003). Fanon (2008, p. 197) would have called these “reactional” rather than “actional” measures. The other choice is Fanon’s: he appropriates and synthesizes disciplines, especially psychoanalysis, with great confidence and poise, as Du Bois did with sociology. When scholars are so busy learning the disciplines that they have no time left to unlearn them, the confident use, revision, and extension of psychoanalysis by Fanon and sociology by Du Bois offer inspiring lessons on how to race these disciplines. Max Weber considered Du Bois the “most important sociological scholar in the Southern states in America,” having noticed the centrality of race in American reality during his visit there in 1904, when he met with Du Bois (Nelson and Gittleman, 1973, p. 312). With Fanon and Du Bois

as inspiration, comparative racialization as a method is also an attempt to race the disciplines by involving as many conversations from different disciplinary locations as possible and by insisting that these conversations be not an option but a necessity. “Disciplinary boundaries allow counterevidence to belong to someone else’s story,” Susan Buck-Morss wrote (2000, p. 822); to keep the disciplines honest, we need, for instance, to bring into critical dialogues the classic sociological work such as The Racial Formation in the United States and the classic literary work such as“Race,” Writing, and Difference. The works of Fanon and Du Bois serve as eloquent examples of how disciplines can be raced to do the work of race studies, and how race itself constitutes a kind of epistemology: it is a way of living in the world and a way of looking at the world. The racialized might have the epistemological privilege of the oppressed – they see racially based oppression more clearly than others – but the moment the entire society notices race and shares in this epistemology is when race itself has become theory. When Hegel was sensitized to the slave revolts in Saint-Domingue and incorporated this awareness into his dialectic of lordship and bondage, he was, for a flashing moment in 1805–6, the truly universal humanist that he could have been (Buck-Morss, 2000). This is the Hegel of The Phenomenology of Mind (1807) that Fanon admires; and while Hegel does not directly mention the slave revolts, Fanon does so in the last pages of Black Skin, White Masks (p. 201). Fanon sees the flashing moment when Hegel raced philosophy and seizes it to emphasize that the “absolute reciprocity” (p. 191) at the basis of the Hegelian dialectic is the foundation and hope for a truly universal humanism. To use race as theory or to race disciplines is then to imagine a way of looking at the world from such genuinely reciprocal perspectives, which is, ultimately, an ethical practice of comparison.

Reading Alcoff, Linda Martin 2000: “Is Latina/o identity a racial identity?” Balibar, Etienne 2008: “Racism revisited: sources, relevance, and aporias of a modern concept.” Banton, Michael 1977: The Idea of Race. Ben-zvi, Yael 2007: “Where did red go? Lewis Henry Morgan’s evolutionary inheritance and US racial imagination.”

149 Trask, Haunani-Kay 2000: “Settlers of color and ‘immigrant’ hegemony: ‘locals’ in Hawai’i.” Wallerstein, Immanuel 2000: “The rise and future demise of the world capitalist system: concepts for comparative analysis.”

shu-mei shih competence A term introduced into linguistics by Noam Chomsky (1965, p. 3) to refer to the knowledge that a native speaker has of a language. The term was contrasted with performance, the actual use of language in concrete situations. The distinction between competence and performance has been bitterly criticized, but the criticisms are groundless, since the distinction underlies virtually all work in linguistics, Chomskyan or otherwise. Recent work such as Chomsky (1986) uses other terms such as “System of knowledge” or “l-language” instead of competence. A wider notion of communicative competence, proposed by Dell Hymes (1972), has been influential in applied linguistics. See also Chomsky, Noam; Generative grammar.

Reading Chomsky, N. 1965: Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. —— 1986: Knowledge of Language.

raphael salkie competence, literary petence

See Literary com-

complex, Oedipus See Oedipus complex complexity Complexity, with its attendant contradictions, is what Robert Venturi likes in architecture, what he sees as inherent to the medium and the program of architecture, and what he finds is suppressed by the unbending geometry of orthodox modern architecture. Specific features of complexity, such as doubleand multi-functioning elements, contrasts between the inside and the outside, dramatic visual juxtapositions, and redundancies of design statement are what, for Venturi, make architecture responsive to human experience, and give both validity and vitality.


Bernasconi, Robert 2001: “Who invented the concept of race? Kant’s role in the enlightenment construction of race.” Brickman, Celia 2003: Aboriginal Populations in the Mind: Race and Primitivity in Psychoanalysis. Buck-Morss, Susan 2000: “Hegel and Haiti.” Conn, Steven 2004: History’s Shadow: Native Americans and Historical Consciousness in the Nineteenth Century. Derrida, Jacques 1998: “Geopsychoanalysis: ‘. . . and the rest of the world’.” Eze, Emmanuel Chukwudi 1995: “The color of reason: the idea of ‘race’ in Kant’s anthropology.” —— ed. 1997: Race and the Enlightenment: A Reader. Fanon, Franz 1952 (2008): Black Skin, White Masks. —— 1961 (2004): The Wretched of the Earth. Fujikane, Candace 2000 “Asian settler colonialism in Hawai’i.” Goldberg, David Theo 1993: Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning. —— 2008: “Racisms without racism.” Harvey, David 2001: Spaces of Capital. Hedrick, Todd 2008: “Race, difference, and anthropology in Kant’s cosmopolitanism.” Kant, Immanuel 1995: “From Physical Geography.” Khana, Ranjana 2003: Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism. Kim, Claire Jean 1999: “The racial triangulation of Asian Americans.” Lye, Colleen 2008: “The Afro-Asian analogy.” Membi, Albert 1994 (2000): Racism. Mills, Charles 1997: The Racial Contract. —— 2008: “Racial liberalism.” Murji, Karim and Solomos, John 2005: “Introduction: racialization in theory and practice.” Nelson, Benjamin and Gittleman, Jerome, trans. 1910 (1973): “Max Weber, Dr Alfred Ploetz, and W.E.B. Du Bois.” Omi, Michael and Howard Winant 1986: Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1980s. —— 1994: Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. Palumbo-Liu, David 2005: “Rational and irrational choices: form, affect, and ethics.” Poole, Debra 1997: Vision, Race, and Modernity: A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World. Posnock, Ross 1997: “How it feels to be a problem: Du Bois, Fanon, and the ‘impossible life’ of the black intellectual.” Rafael, Vicente 2000: White Love and Other Events in Filipino History. Said, Edward 1979: Orientalism. —— 1993: Culture and Imperialism. —— 2003. “Representing the colonized: anthropology’s interlocutors.”


150 Reading Venturi, Robert 1966: Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture.

gerald eager condensation/displacement Essential aspects of the workings of unconscious processes, and especially of symptoms and the Dream-work, as analyzed by Freud (1900). Thanks to the mechanism of condensation, a single unconscious idea can express the content of several chains of association; the mechanism comes into play at the nodal point at which they intersect. Condensation explains the apparently laconic nature of the Manifest content of the dream, as compared with the richness of the Latent Content. The term displacement refers to the process whereby the emphasis or intensity of an unconscious idea is detached from that idea and transferred to a second and less intense idea to which it is linked by chains of association. The effect or emotional charge attached to a highly sexualized idea may, for instance, be displaced on to a more neutral image or idea. In such cases displacement is an effect of censorship. Condensation and displacement are likened by Lacan (1957), for whom the Unconscious is structured like a language, to the rhetorical figures of Metaphor and metonymy.

Reading Freud, Sigmund 1900: The Interpretation of Dreams. Lacan, Jacques 1957: “The agency of the letter in the unconscious or Reason since Freud.”

david macey conjuring The system of magic and medicine that forms part of the black folk religion of vodun, which was practiced in black slave communities across the Diaspora and which continued to flourish well into the twentieth century. Often regarded as a descendant of the African priest or healer, the conjurer performed various social functions for the black community, including fortune-telling, avenging wrongs, curing psychological and physical ailments, and interpreting natural and supernatural Signs. A practice largely discredited as superstitious in the West, conjuring has been celebrated by numerous black writers as a system of alternative folk knowledge that has

enabled an oppressed group to exercise psychological control over an unjust social environment. The term “conjuring” has recently acquired an increased metaphorical currency in black feminist criticism, with the publication of Marjorie Pryse’s essay, “Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and the ‘ancient power’ of black women” (1985), which claims that the black women’s fictional tradition derives its unique literary authority from its recovery of black folk cultural practices such as conjuring.

Reading Hurston, Zora Neale 1935 (1978): Mules and Men, Part II. Levine, Lawrence W. 1977: Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom. Pryse, Marjorie 1985: “Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and the ‘ancient power’ of black women.”

madhu dubey

connotation/denotation The denotation of a word is its literal meaning or “dictionary definition.” Its connotations are the additional meanings, such as implications or associations, which it takes on when used in specific contexts. The word “pig” denotes a particular kind of animal, but if used as an insult it has a connotation of greediness. The distinction took on a special role in modern criticism, first in I.A. Richards and C.K. Ogden’s The Meaning of Meaning (1923), and later in New Criticism. More recent, poststructuralist criticism, by contrast, “contests the hierarchy of denotated and connotated” and refuses to “privilege” denotation as the primary meaning (Barthes, 1973).

Reading Barthes, Roland 1973a: S/Z. Garza Cuaron, Beatriz 1991: Connotation and Meaning.

iain wright

consumer culture A rather loose term which began to be used by revisionist Marxists in the 1980s to signal their new approach to the marketplace. They wanted to rethink consumers’ previously assumed “irrationality,” whether this irrationality was defined in terms of Marx’s

151 however, to be more useful as a rhetorical than an analytical device. To use the term was to gesture slyly at one’s own joy in shopping (and to signal one’s agreement that “Class” was a limited concept); it was not, though, a concept that was properly tested in research, and by the end of the 1980s it seemed as dated an idea as an old Levi’s 501 advertisement.

Reading Baudrillard, Jean 1972: For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. Haug, W.F. 1986: Critique of Commodity Aesthetics. Lee, Martyn J. 1993: Consumer Culture Reborn: The Cultural Politics of Consumption.

simon frith

contemporary Indian historiography See Subaltern studies

content analysis Content analysis was developed as a research tool by early sociologists of the mass media, primarily for comparative purposes – its first use seems to have been in pre1914 American studies of newspaper coverage of foreign affairs. It is a quantitative methodology which depends on two problematic assumptions: first, that one can readily distinguish verbal (or other) Signs in a Text from the reading “context”; second, that such content can be measured “objectively” – that different readers faced with the same text would “measure” the same content. That said, media “content” may take a variety of forms, and content analysis was influentially used, for example, in Frankfurt school studies of American popular songs and magazines (see Peatman and Lowenthal, 1942–3). While this quantitative approach has been discredited (cultural theorists are now much more attuned to the active and subjective interpretation of pop texts) the underlying assumption about standardization has not, and content analysis is still employed in most arguments about media bias and media effects (see, for example, the work of the Glasgow University Media Group or the debate on television violence).

Reading Docherty, David 1990: Violence in Television Fiction. Glasgow University Media Group 1976: Bad News.

content analysis

concept of commodity fetishism or in the psychoanalytically inflected approach of the Frankfurt school. Consumption, in Martyn Lee’s words, was still taken to be the moment when economic activity and cultural practice combined, but it was now argued (in the pages of the British Communist Party magazine, Marxism Today, for example) that as a cultural practice it could not be understood as entirely determined either by the circulation of capital or by individual psychopathology. Consuming is, rather, a social practice, which has two theoretical implications. First, consumer culture can only be understood by reference to the institutions of consumption, to shops and shopping malls, consumer magazines, and advertisements. The pleasures of consumption are, in fact, social pleasures. This was particularly important for feminists, who could thus rescue the woman’s activity of shopping – and window shopping – from the condescension of cultural theorists, and for Subculture theorists, who argued that consumption was the site on which the “active” consumer transformed a commodity into a Symbol of “resistance.” This related to the second argument: as culture, consumption is a symbolic practice; it has to be interpreted. Its aesthetic value is not, as Frankfurt scholars would have it (see W.F. Haug, 1986) simply the effect of a manipulative advertising industry, but also depends on consumers’ ability to read and enjoy aesthetic Signs. For consumer culture, the form, the packaging, is as meaningful as the content, what is packaged. This argument reflected the influence of Postmodernism and, in particular, Jean Baudrillard’s critique of the Marxist theory of use value, and marked, in political terms, a shift of focus from the social relations of production to the social relations of consumption. This is turn reflected the impact of the New right on the theoretical agenda. The implication of the term “consumer culture” was the social identity articulated in the marketplace, in the organization of taste, and not, as Marx had argued, in the workplace, in the organization of labor. “Consumer culture” was thus an attempt to conceptualize from the left the new social map being drawn by advertisers and market researchers in terms of demographics and “lifestyle.” People are what they eat, and the critical task was to understand consumption. “Consumer culture” turned out,

content, manifest/latent

152 Lowenthal, Leo 1942–3: “Biographies in popular magazines.” Peatman, J.G. 1942–3: “Radio and popular music.”

simon frith

content, manifest/latent See Manifest/ latent content

contradiction Two types of contradiction may be distinguished: (i) formal, logical contradiction, or the simultaneous assertion and negation of any proposition; (ii) dialectical contradiction, variously conceived within the Hegelian and Marxist traditions – such as inclusive real oppositions (for example, between the forces and relations of production). The compatibility of (ii) with (i) has been endlessly debated. See also Hegelianism; Marxism.

contradictory attitudes (to technology and materialism), its internal differences (about sexual politics or drug (ab)use, for instance), and systematic legal harassment. Nevertheless, its values and, to some extent, its “alternative” institutions live on, whether in the symbolic form of a Grateful Dead concert or in the activities of the New Age Travelers.

Reading Musgrove, Frank 1974: Ecstasy and Holiness. Counter Culture and the Open Society. Neville, Richard 1970: Play Power. Roszak, Theodore 1968 (1971): The Making of a Counter Culture.

simon frith

countertransference See (counter)


Reading Bhaskar, R. 1993: Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom. Colletti, L. 1975: “Marxism and the dialectic.” Lukács, G. 1923 (1971b): History and Class Consciousness.

gregory elliott

counterculture A term developed in the 1960s (see Roszak, 1970) to make sense of the spectacular new youth and student subcultures and, in particular, the American hippie. The term, as Musgrove (1974) points out, had two uses. On the one hand, it described what Richard Neville (1970) called “play power,” a set of ideas, beliefs, and values that opposed the dominant culture (which, in this context, meant capitalism, protestantism, and militarism); counterculturalists valued the spiritual over the material, hedonism over prudence, tolerance over prejudice. “Counterculture” referred, on the other hand, to a group of people, those people who because of their different ideas refused to live in “straight” society and “dropped out” of it. The counterculture thus described both new social practices – drug use, “free” sex, nondirective education, etc. – and the institutions that supported these practices – communes, alternative newspapers and magazines, free schools, “underground” festivals, etc. The counterculture is usually thought to have dissolved in the 1970s, the victim of its own

Critical Inquiry In 1974 Sheldon Sacks founded Critical Inquiry, a quarterly publication from the University of Chicago Press, and gave it the subtitle: “a voice for reasoned inquiry into significant creations of the human spirit.” Later issues omit this subtitle, but the journal’s goal remains the same; Critical Inquiry is a pluralistic journal concerned with Critical theories of vastly diverse range and origin. As the current editor W.J.T. Mitchell wrote in 1982, Critical Inquiry should not be considered “aimless eclecticism;” the journal blends its own brand of pluralism in an attempt to provoke and mediate arguments in numerous areas of critical thought. Mitchell labels the practice “dialectical pluralism,” which “insists on pushing divergent theories and practices toward confrontation and dialogue.” The goal, by Mitchell’s admission, is idealistic and never actually realized. In practice, however, Critical Inquiry provides the next best alternative: an intriguing sequence of debates among distinguished scholars. Its one downfall is that the writing is often distractingly intellectual and plagued with academic jargon. Every issue contains essays by internationally known writers: Frank Kermode, Jacques Derrida, Stanley Fish, and Michel Foucault appear alongside M.H. Abrams, Donald Davidson, and Catherine Stimpson. While the


critical theory In the strict sense, critical theory is the interdisciplinary project announced by Max Horkheimer and practiced by members of the Frankfurt school and their successors, whereby the Enlightenment ideal of a Civil society might be achieved by bringing scientific research to bear on Marx’s theory of social

change. In a looser sense, critical theory is now a more general term, under which research projects in the social sciences and/or humanities attempt to bring truth and political engagement into alignment. In both senses, critical theory is an offspring of the Kantian tradition of thought that prizes self-knowledge (see Kant and NeoKantianism). The most useful, succinct elaboration of these definitions of critical theory has been proposed by Raymond Geuss (1981, pp. 1–2): 1.

Critical theories have special standing as guides for human action in that: (a) they are aimed at producing enlightenment in the agents who hold them, i.e. at enabling those agents to determine what their true interests are; (b) they are inherently emancipatory, i.e. they free agents from a kind of coercion which is at least partly self-imposed. . . . 2. Critical theories have cognitive content, i.e. they are forms of knowledge. 3. Critical theories differ epistemologically in essential ways from theories in the natural sciences. Theories in natural science are objectifying; critical theories are reflective. Critical theory bravely, but perhaps quixotically, persists in confronting a recurring chain of skeptical epistemological questions: Do truth and goodness relate to each other and if so how? Do the fruits of knowledge embody a desire for moral action or a temptation to ethical and legal violation? If knowledge of the good does not lead to the good, what good, then, is knowledge? A tempting, facile escape from these perennial questions is simply to bracket them and set them aside by claiming that a particular research project is not designed to deal with the ethical and/or political implications of its results. However uncertain and tentative its achievements, critical theory, nevertheless, gives the highest importance to self-criticism; to marking the ethical/ political position from which one works in order that such a position can be available for examination by critical readers or other reflective audiences; to the recognition that knowledge constitutes power; and to the conviction that the supposedly amoral and apolitical position is also a position that requires critical reflection.

critical theory

editors of Critical Inquiry are always pleased to discover unknown, younger contributors, ultimately the journal reflects the current work of its elite contributors. In his 1982 piece on critical inquiry and the state of criticism, Mitchell offers a “confession:” “because we regard their work as barometric, we sometimes print essays by famous writers which do not come up to our normal standards.” In other words, in an attempt to accurately convey the current scene of criticism, the editors often print articles by well-known writers, “even when we do not think that they are up to much good.” Critical Inquiry has responded to the evolution of critical theory by devoting issues, either in part or in full, to Psychoanalysis, feminism, and the politics of interpretation (to name a few) and by printing papers from conferences on metaphor and narrative. Occasionally the editors publish a group of articles under a common heading; for example, Seamus Heaney and Joyce Carol Oates have contributed to the “Artists on Art” sections of separate issues. In 1986 Mitchell added a section called “Books of Critical Interest.” Perhaps the most interesting section of the journal is one labeled “Critical Response,” which appears in nearly every issue. Here writers respond to previous articles, and the resulting debates can span several issues. But dialogue between critics is not restricted to this section. One of the long-running debates began in the Summer 1982 issue with Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michael’s article “Against theory” and ended in March 1985 with a special section (three articles) on “Pragmatism and literary theory”; the entire dialog has been collected and published in a book, Against Theory: Literary Studies and the New Pragmatism. Now part its twentieth anniversary, Critical Inquiry continues its distinguished reputation for its attention to critical thought. tara g. gilligan

criticism, bolekaja

154 Geuss’s definition of critical theory, outlined above, recognizes that not all forms of knowledge assume this self-reflexive responsibility.

Reading Geuss, Raymond 1981: The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas & the Frankfurt School. Hoy, David Couzens, and McCarthy, Thomas 1994: Critical Theory. Norris, Christopher 1991: Spinoza and the Origins of Modern Critical Theory.

michael payne

criticism, bolekaja See Bolekaja criticism

criticism, feminist See Feminist criticism

criticism, linguistic See Linguistic criticism

criticism, literary See Literary criticism

criticism, Marxist xist criticism

criticism, moral

Criticism, New

See Marxism and Mar-

See Moral criticism

See New Criticism

criticism, nuclear See Nuclear criticism

criticism, patristic See Patristic criticism

criticism, practical See Practical criticism

criticism, psychoanalytic See Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic criticism

criticism, reader-response response criticism

See Reader-

Culler, Jonathan (1944–) American commentator on Structuralism and its relations with deconstruction and poststructuralism. His work on these movements stems from his own engagement with the condition of literary scholarship in the late twentieth century. He utilizes structuralism and what follows it as a means of revitalizing literary critical practice, which he sees as a discipline in and of itself. Structuralism provides him with the means to do so, since it is concerned with the exposition of fundamental meanings.

Reading Culler, Jonathan 1973: “The linguistic basis of structuralism.” —— 1975 (1989): Structuralist Poetics.

paul innes

cultural anthropology Although the following generalization will be modified further on, at the outset one can say that cultural anthropology is that branch of anthropology devoted to the study of Culture. What is culture? Although there are legions of definitions (as a beginning, see Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1950), culture is what makes, for example, Navajos similar to each other and different from Cherokees. We humans are not the only species that engages in cultural behavior, but ours is the only species that has come to depend on culture as the principal means by which we adapt to our environment, get along with each other, and survive. All species other than humans base their adaptation on a genetic inheritance of programmed behavior and capabilities. Although the human capability for culture is also biologically founded, humans pass down their lifeways – strategies for collective survival – not through the genes, but through teaching each new generation of children the lifeway of parents. Is it important that humans have chosen a system based on teaching rather than genes for adaptation? Yes. Culture is the reason why our single species occupies more niches – from tundra to the tropics, the forest to the desert, the mountains to the plains – than any other species. (There is an exception to this: certain species, such as fleas and body lice have made the human body their habitat. Where we go, they go, so their geographic distribution is as extensive as ours.)

155 pology, archaeology, and linguistics. In Europe cultural anthropology comprises the direct field study of living societies and the analysis of the data gathered in those field studies. There it is usually called “social anthropology” and maintains little contact with the other subfields, seeing itself as more akin to sociology. In the United States, however, four-field collaboration achieved a kind of orthodoxy that dominated the enterprise until about 1960 and still enjoys substantial loyalty today. The specific subject matter of cultural anthropology seems to be as diverse as human behavior and interest. Specialized groups, often with their own publications and computer networks, cover such widely focused cultural domains as kinship, Education, medicine, psychological issues, economics, work, Ecology, language, feminist studies, innumerable regional and cultural zones, computers, tourism, migration, herding societies, fishing societies, human rights, indigenous knowledge, and on and on. There is too a family of efforts focused on how indigenous societies classify and organize domains of knowledge, such as botanical resources (“ethnobotany”), medicinal remedies (“ethnomedicine”), and astronomical phenomena (“ethnoastronomy”). Cultural Anthropology as a Science Cultural anthropology has, since the time of Boas, understood itself as a would-be science. Thus the stated goals of cultural anthropologists were to gather and rely on primary data collected in a rigorous and system-atic manner, to test hypotheses against the data, to assume that cultural behavior was the product of discoverable cause and effect relationships, and to seek reliable, nonobvious predictions about culture. Yet a fully scientific study of culture has never been achieved. Mainly this is due to the intangible nature of culture, the ethical framework that constrains experimentation with a people’s lives, and the fact that cultures are, to a significant degree, one of a kind. Further realities constrain the goal as a science. Field research in cultural anthropology relies heavily on what can be called “the rapport bridge.” Quality data on much of culture has to come from the people who practice it. That information is only made available when trusting relationships exist between them and the ethnographer.

cultural anthropology

The reason why the same species that lives in sweltering heat can also live in subzero climates is that humans in cold climates have cultures that teach them how to make warm clothes and tightly sealed, well-insulated houses. Simply put, culture has been, for humans, an adaptational breakthrough of unparalleled magnitude. It is the most successful means of biological adaptation the earth has ever witnessed; it is why humans put other species in zoos, aquaria, and conservatories and not the other way around. The basis of cultural anthropolgy is a question that has very likely intrigued every human society, past and present: why do peoples behave differently from one group to another? To the observing group, the cultural ways of alien peoples look at least strange, and perhaps illogical, perhaps primitive, perhaps morally wrong. In the mid-nineteenth century the confluence of Positivism, the spreading belief that the natural world is the product of orderly, discoverable forces, and the emergence of systematic investigative methods became the preconditions on which an anthropology could be invented. In order to answer this question (why do peoples behave differently) a concept was needed which could serve as a tool for thinking about these behavioral differences. The concept was culture, which came together in a workable form around 1860 (see Lowie, 1937). Three critical aspects of culture were identified: (i) that culture was manifested in behaviors – customs – that are patterned and shared, (ii) that cultural behaviors are learned from society, not biologically inherited, and (iii) that cultural behaviors are arranged into what E.B. Tylor called “a complex whole.” A fourth feature, adopted more slowly, is that culture consists of “shared ideas”; thus, behaviors and artifacts are not culture themselves, but are reflections and products of those shared ideas. Cultural anthropology emerged as the enterprise for studying culture, conducted by professionals who identify themselves and each other as anthropologists, who maintain ways to communicate and debate, and who are conversant with a common toolkit of concepts, terms, and methods. By 1900, especially under the influence of Franz Boas, anthropology in the United States had adopted the view that culture could be best researched by approaching it within four general subfields, only one of which was cultural anthro-

cultural anthropology

156 Usually this takes the form of mutual friendship. In any other science, personal relationships interposed between investigator and data are anathema, casting doubt on the objectivity of the data obtained. The “double-blind” experimental technique that is insisted upon in much research physiology and psychology illustrates the efforts made to eliminate the personal linkage. In cultural anthropology, however, eliminating personal relationships blocks access to the data. Another unusual feature of cultural anthropology has been the conviction that a culture can most thoroughly be understood when the anthropologist sees the society not only as an outside observer, but also from the “inside” – through the world view of a native. These two viewpoints are commonly referred to as the “emic” (external) and “etic” (inside) systems. In this author’s view, how one explains epistemologically the need for the emic view has always been somewhat vague. Perhaps it is because most cultural behaviors make little sense until one know the (emic) meaning to the participants. Just why the chicken is killed is not very clear until one has heard the people doing the killing, and, moreover, understood the way in which the chicken and the killing look within their larger scheme of things. This seems to be true even when you conclude that although people say the chicken dies to obey the gods, you find it is because there are too many chickens. Thus the discipline’s claim to be a science is compromised. Cultural anthropologists do not design experiments, most field researches cannot be replicated elsewhere, each culture as a unit of study is substantially unique, one consciously seeks to build a personal, value-laden relationship between the investigator and the data, and the emic, inside view is usually sought. Mostly these divergences are necessary entailments for the study of culture, but they also mean that cultural anthropology’s claim to be a science falls somewhat short. Nonscience Models Cultural anthropology’s selfimage as a science has, in recent decades, come to be joined by alternative self-images. For example, the humanist anthropologists have argued that there is no way to be certain that the anthropologist’s rendition of a culture depicts something objectively real. Consequently the

humanists appear to argue that culture is better experienced than analyzed. Sociobiology, Materialism, Structuralism, feminism, and other bounded frameworks also tend to modify in their own ways an exclusively scientific model of cultural anthropology. The association of anthropology with the humanities has always been important. The study of cultural symbolism and its expression in Ritual and Art has a lineage that moves from Frazer’s Golden Bough to Lévi-Strauss’s Raw and the Cooked, to Turner’s Anthropology of Performance. The common ground with the humanities lies not only with the narrative and performance, but also with the essentially introspective mode of discovery that characterizes much of both endeavors. Another, newer variety of cultural anthropology responds to a widening change in the anthropologist’s relationship to indigenous societies, where much of the fieldwork is done. With the flourishing of ethnic pride, these societies typically insist on having a deciding and often managerial role in what information will be gathered and what will be done with it. Advancing a science of culture is not usually high on their agenda. Cultural anthropologists find that the indigenous society is now a full partner in the venture. In these circumstances the criterion for research is not theory testing, but its usefulness to the host society. As a result, primary fieldwork among today’s indigenous societies is increasingly a collaborative matter, and the old division between “pure” and “applied” cultural anthropology is no longer clear. It is important not to leave the impression that all cultural anthropology entails a field study of an indigenous society. That is false. Particularly since the 1930s, cultural anthropologists have studied a steadily widening range of societies and social groupings, including peasant villages, towns, cities, factories, schools, hospitals, work groups, impoverished urbanites, comfortable suburbanites, and countless others. On the whole, groups remain as accessible as ever. Thus cultural theory testing will have ample research sites, though interpretation is more difficult when only a part of a larger culture is in view. In addition, a major part of cultural anthropology’s work does not depend on new field data. Much analysis is done using cultural examples


Findings Those seeking to look at specific findings and questions being pursued by cultural and other types of anthropologists may find the well-indexed Annual Review of Anthropology, now in its twenty-third year, a rewarding place to start. Periodicals, such as the British journal, Man, the French journal, L’Homme, the Swiss journal, Anthropos, the Mexican journal, America Indigena, and the American journals, American Anthropologist and American Ethnologist, will be found to be sources of current cultural research and debate, and entry-points to the vastly larger intellectual endeavor called cultural anthropology. After some 130 years of professional work, anthropologists have found that the cultural concept remains a central anchorage to the discipline. The working definitions of culture continue to be diverse and not always mutually compatible, reflecting the intrinsic difficulty which human social behavior poses for those who would explain and predict it. Some anthropologists eschew the concept altogether. Yet the question that founded the discipline (why do peoples behave differently?) remains as relevant today as it did in the discipline’s infancy, and culture remains the most productive concept for answering it. Beyond that question, culture is important in its own right: it remains the singular attribute that has accorded our species an unrivaled success among the earth’s biological populace. Culture also presents us with unique dangers, giving our species the capability to destroy each other at genocidal levels, to inflict cruelty with satisfaction, and to limit the life chances of vast numbers of our fellow humans. Culture remains arguably the most important aspect for us to know more about. Central to that investigation is cultural anthropology.

Reading Fox, Richard G. 1991: Recapturing Anthropology.

Honigmann, John J. 1973: Handbook of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Kroeber, Alfred L. and Kluckhohn, Clyde 1952 (1963): Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. Lowie, Robert H. 1937: The History of Ethnological Theory. Turner, Victor W. 1986: The Anthropology of Performance.

thomas c. greaves cultural landscape in a globalizing world The cultural landscape is the geographic unit of human experience. For the human actor it is the locus of shared geographic experience. For the scholarly observer it is a way to conceptualize the spaces of human productive, symbolic, and social activity. Cultural landscape studies bring space and environment into cultural discourses where they have often been missing. In particular, the cultural landscape is a powerful way to show the effects of globalization upon the environment in their cultural context. Cultural Landscape The cultural landscape is the world as human groups have altered it by their activities and for their goals. The cultural landscape delimits individual humans’ interactions with the world. The cultural landscape displays three complementary aspects. It is an altered natural system – how human cultures have adapted the environment, as the cultures adapted to the environment. It is also a set of physical constructions, the infrastructural machinery that supports human lives. And the cultural landscape is a symbol system, a series of messages encoded, consciously or not, into the artifacts of the built environment. As an altered natural system, the cultural landscape demonstrates the ways in which environmental practices are culturally determined. This aspect of the cultural landscape developed from the ideas of Carl Sauer as he sought to understand the range of human adaptations to the natural environment in the New World over the millennia. Natural landscapes are modified in different ways by different groups, which is an important fact about the cultures and also about landscapes. The expression on the physical landscape of a particular subsistence or extraction system is a cultural artifact, just as the

cultural landscape in a globalizing world

already in hand. Over the past 130 years anthropologists have documented to a large extent perhaps 3,000 cultural cases whose information lies in library volumes, data bases, and other sorts of reports. The analysis of cultural principles using multiple cases simultaneously is called ethnology, and given the accumulation of cultural data already in hand, ethnology would have a long future even were no further data gathered.

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158 manifestations of ritual, kinship, or exchange are cultural artifacts. For example, the Balinese communal peasant rice farming system differs significantly in scale, form, and structure from expansive Argentine cattle ranching, or from industrialized vegetable production in California. The differences reflect fundamental aspects of the cultures in which the practices are embedded, differences in higher-level values about harmony and stability, the value of labor, obligations to the non-human world, and landscape aesthetics. And the different extraction practices have fundamentally different levels and types of impact on the natural world. Environmental impact is a direct manifestation of cultural practice in the landscape. Seen as an instrumental component of the built environment, the cultural landscape describes the practical machinery of the world that supports the culture. This approach lies within the concerns of urban studies, landscape architecture, and much of historical geography. J.B. Jackson and Jane Jacobs were pioneers of this view of the world, describing the instrumentality of the landscape in the ways that the constructed world provides a people a living, creates livable spaces, or offers impediments to the lives of its inhabitants. The subject of such study is often finally economic activity, but the strength of the cultural landscape approach lies in the emphasis on the human scale, the scale of a person moving though the world. The contours of the cultural landscape shape people’s ordinary behavior in space, and thus provide the observer with a blueprint of that behavior. The third perspective, landscape as symbol, emphasizes the culture in cultural landscapes. This approach seeks to harvest meaning from the world by explicitly regarding the landscape as a series of cultural messages written in human spatial activity. Study of the cultural landscape extracts meaning from, or imposes meaning on, a wide range of human constructions – a town plan, a house type, a shrine, a business district. The landscape is seen to have the characteristics of a text: a set of individually meaningful objects arranged into patterns that add more layers of meaning. Cultural landscapes offer diverse ranges of meaning. Some messages are explicit – monuments, literal signs, or overtly sacred and ceremonial spaces. Other messages are more

subtle – the nuance of an architectural style, the rhetoric of fences, or the ideological hierarchy in the arrangement of monuments within a park. In fact, all landscapes should be thought of as symbolic. Even the most utilitarian object – a parking lot, perhaps – symbolizes its own functions and the cultural values supported by those functions. This symbolic approach to cultural landscape has strong affinities with cultural studies, and with the study of cultures. It is supported in the writings of Yi-Fu Tuan, Dennis Cosgrove, and others within humanistic geography. Globalization Throughout most of the world cultural landscapes have been undergoing changes of unprecedented magnitude and rapidity. The word “globalization” summarizes the major processes underlying these changes. In brief, the situation is that globalization removes barriers between parts of the world, but those barriers were what supported the diversity and robustness that define the cultural landscape for its owners. Thus the utility of the landscapes is degraded. Globalization is a set of economic and cultural processes that increase the movement of material and ideas between distant parts of the world. Globalization accounts for a number of social impacts, including increasingly centralized decisions about economic activities, a concomitant decrease in the power and well-being of smaller economic actors, and a growing cultural hegemony caused by the wide dissemination of a small range of political and commercial ideologies. The economic aspects of globalization are easiest to quantify. International trade rates have increased throughout the past several centuries, primarily under the influence of capitalism and proto-capitalism from the West. Over recent decades, firms’ continual efforts to obtain new markets, new resource pools, and new supplies of pliant labor have met willing support from states, and international barriers to trade have been lowered through the abolition of tariffs and improvements in externally oriented transportation facilities. The effects are familiar: capital flight, closed plants, and unemployment in wealthy countries; and rising foreign debt, falling economic well-being, and erosion of labor and environmental standards in poor countries. The cultural components of globalization follow the economic. The power of corporations often


Globalization and the Cultural Landscape Erosion of the cultural landscape is a central effect of globalization upon individual humans. The cultural landscape is degrading more rapidly each year, in more different ways, over more of the world than ever before. We use different names for the parts of the changes, matching the three aspects of the cultural landscape. Pollution and land degradation describe the changes in the human environment; sprawl and urbanization are ways to describe the changes in the built world; and cultural hegemonization describes the evolution of the symbolic landscape. These changes in the cultural landscape have a shared origin, which is the elimination of barriers to the movement of products, people, ideas, and organisms. The character of the landscape is defined by its boundaries. Over earth history, landscape complexity has been possible because landscape components developed in isolation from each other. Spatial barriers account for the fundamental nature of the human landscape as a diverse and constructively chaotic mosaic. Barriers separate one landscape’s diseases, cultural influences, economic control, threatening organisms, and pollution from other landscapes. Isolation has been a critical creative factor in shaping the world around us. Removing the barriers between

parts of the world – speeding the flow of ideas and products – also permanently degrades the cultural landscape. Isolation is what creates diversity. Environmentally, barriers and isolation nurtured the near infinite landscape mosaic of habitats and topographies that is the natural world. Species evolve to create diverse ecosystems when they are separated from each other. This is illustrated most famously by the diversification of Darwin’s finch species on the several Galapagos Islands, separated from each other by reaches of ocean. Economically valuable resources of the physical world can exist only as isolated reservoirs, in the few places where natural barriers have resisted the universal trend toward homogenization that physicists call entropy. Cultures differentiate when the people are isolated, creating diverse cultural landscapes, and they meld when they are joined. The ancient languages of western Europe differentiated in isolation during the Neolithic and the Bronze Age; many of those languages disappeared when much of Europe was linguistically unified by the Romans, whose army and roads leveled the barriers on the land. When Roman authority fell and barriers returned, language complexity also returned in the differentiated set of Latin-derived Romance languages. Diversity and stability are crucial to the functions of the cultural landscape. As an environmental phenomenon, the cultural landscape represents a specific cultural adaptation within a particular habitat towards a particular set of cultural values; there is no conceivable universal solution to environmental adaptation. As an economic tool, the cultural landscape is a particular way to provide value, as value is perceived by the members of one culture. As a symbol system, a given cultural landscape supplies the daily stability of an understandable world, as it is interpreted by one cultural group. The cultural landscape is the scale at which humans experience the world, but it is also the scale at which humans experience the degradation of their worlds through globalization. And the contemporary cultural landscape has been thoroughly and permanently degraded by the loss of barriers between its parts. Environmental effects of globalization are well described, but they are typically seen as a sideeffect of the economic effectiveness of wealthy

cultural landscape in a globalizing world

exceeds the influence of other cultural actors, and even governments. Cultural hegemony grows with the intrusion of Western entertainment, commercial messages, economic ideology, and social values, which overwhelm local ones. Disney, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola are often named as villains in this regard, but the cultural influences of globalization are more numerous and more subtle. The economic results of globalization have lifted billions of people out of poverty. The trade machinery of globalization has distributed medicines and technology that have saved millions of lives and relieved suffering for billions more. Political ideas spread by globalization have encouraged millions to challenge oppressive governments and permitted large populations to attain political autonomy unheard of through most of world history. And the landscape-scale impacts of globalization have been more destructive of human culture and the natural environment than any other sequence of events in history.

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160 consumers in overexploiting unseen, distant environments. Instead, much of the cause of the negative effects of globalization on the environment is simply globalization. Interaction between parts of the world is, in itself, one of the most significant environmental agents at work, altering the natural world by eliminating the divisions that had prevented the flow of damaging agents out across the land. Without barriers the diversity of the environmental system starts to compress. Essentially all large-scale humaninduced environmental challenges are caused by breakdown of the barriers between parts of the landscape. An example of the serious damage humans create by removing barriers is the introduction of invasive exotic organisms into new environments where they eat or outcompete pre-existing species that lack resistance to them. Exotic organisms are the most permanent single anthropogenic change in the biosphere. While global warming may linger for a thousand years, and nuclear wastes might be dangerous for 100,000 years, the European rabbits introduced into Australia should remain there in some form for millions of years – forever, in ecological terms. The effects of exotics is greatest for those with the least previous interaction – those for whom the barriers had been strongest – so island species are most threatened, with roughly half the avian diversity of Hawaii gone already. Many of the “emerging diseases” that have become serious threats to significant parts of the world, like Ebola virus, SARS, HIV, and West Nile virus, had been endemic in small areas for centuries with no effect beyond that locale. The breakdown of geographic barriers by travel – and of interspecies barriers in zoos, pet shops, and farms to let the pathogens out of their animal reservoirs – permitted the diseases to become widespread human problems. The great epidemic diseases of early modern times – plague, cholera, syphilis, smallpox, influenza – represented similar barrier breaches, the escape of pathogens from spatially constrained landscapes. The whole suite of global geochemical effects on the environment, of which anthropogenic global warming is the most dramatic, represent the breaching of natural barriers. Global warming is mostly a product of fossil fuel consumption, the rapid extraction of geological carbon reserves from the isolated pools they had lain in.

Biological carbon reserves released by plowing and by burning vegetation, and methane pools released by disturbing wetlands, add to the problem. The list of environmental problems that are essentially barrier breaches is long. Natural vegetation is removed because it is a barrier to use of the environment. As vegetation is removed other flows expand. Rapid surface runoff of rain depletes the natural reservoir of groundwater, erodes the soil, and floods valleys. Now humans must invest in their own barriers – dams and floodwalls – to replace the natural protection and to offset the lost natural storage. Some of the greatest losses to humanity from globalization are cultural, the absorption of the traditional lifeways of local cultural units into more dominant regional and global cultures, at the cost of lost wisdom, lost modes of expression and discourse, and lost adaptations to nature, to society, and to the supernatural. The Americas had hundreds of peoples and languages when Columbus arrived, and many of them disappeared before they were even seen by Europeans. The diseases that Europeans brought across the oceanic barrier killed more native peoples than weapons ever did, and killed them hundreds of miles away from the European settlements. The universalizing religions – Confucianism, Islam, and Christianity – displaced local spiritual diversity from much of the world over the past two thousand years. Television and other mass media are now displacing local narrative, music, and performance traditions throughout the developing world, as they did in the developed world two generations ago. The human impacts are the loss of familiar modes of interacting, loss of local values, loss of traditional valuations of the individual, loss of ways to understand the exact world those people lived in, as well as displacement of discourses that might solve problems we all have. The End of Globalization There is an end to globalization, because it is inherently unsustainable. It is like a pyramid scheme, predicated on a false model of ever-expanding pools of resources to consume, endless supplies of human power asymmetries, and infinite new populations to exploit. The millennia-long processes of consolidation that drove globalization have fed on ever larger reservoirs of value. Where once a bank of clay could support a pottery industry integrated

161 Europe. But the inevitably parochial and muted voices that support local action face, perhaps, an insurmountable challenge to being heard over the global, commercial rhetoric espousing efficiency as an ultimate goal. The expanding valuation of cultural landscapes is reliant on a more nuanced understanding of human lives than the commercialized mass media generally support. But the outcome of this conflict over landscape scale may have a fundamental impact on the future of humanity. For now, most barriers are getting lower, and this is consuming the natural, material, and symbolic diversity in the world’s landscapes. The central crisis creating the cultural and environmental costs of globalization lies in the conflict between the crudely economic “good” of trade and interaction and movement, as compared to the subtle human value of cultural and environmental stability that is supported by isolating the local components of the world. Humans continue to unthinkingly forgo the permanent advantage of a diverse cultural landscape for the immediate benefits of rapid interchange.

Reading Berry, W. 2002: The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry. Cosgrove, D.E. 1998: Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape. Diamond, J.M. 1997: Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies. Meinig, D.W. 1979: “Reading the landscape: an appreciation of W.G. Hoskins and J.B. Jackson.” Sassen, S. 2006: Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages. Sauer, C. 1925: The Morphology of Landscape. Speth, J. 2003: Worlds Apart: Globalization and the Environment. Tuan, Y.-F. 1974: Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values.

ben marsh

cultural materialism A critical approach which developed in Britain during the late 1970s and 1980s, cultural materialism is difficult to pin down as a theoretical and analytical concept. This is partly because it is often used in a polemical or descriptive rather than conceptual way. There is clearly a link between “cultural,” “dialectical,” and “historical” materialism, and

cultural materialism

into a particular local landscape and production tradition, now excavations the size of national parks are needed to feed global markets. Where once a village was the labor supply to a local industry making a distinctly local product, now a factory complex employs a city’s worth of people to make products designed half a world away for a lifestyle alien to the workers. But someday there will be no “bigger” to grow to. Someday the largest will have been consumed, and the newest horizon will be old, just as someday the capacity of the air and water to support human life may be depleted, as well. Then globalization must end, for better or worse. Until that dismal time, it is very likely that the present trends will continue, as will the ongoing cultural homogenization and environmental degradation of the landscape. Humans will continue to revel in the benefits of the shrinking world around them, and thus continue to overlook the connection of globalization to their evolving problems. The globalizing forces that have been unleashed so far – the flows of ideas, diseases, chemical pollutants, weapons, crops, exotic species, resources, and greenhouse gases – are far from through working their effects. It will be centuries before even the forces at work now will equilibrate with the cultural landscape and stop driving more changes. At a more indirect level, the loss of diversity that globalization has brought to ecosystems, cultural units, and economic structures will decrease the capacity of those systems to respond to future stresses, thus making the effects of globalization increasingly worse. A threshold has been passed and the problems accelerate. Hope remains. A wisdom is emerging that may help – a growing public awareness that spatial isolation and protection may be beneficial. This awareness is, in part, a natural affirmative reaction to the familiarity and reliability of the known, the particular. The emerging academic importance of place now reinforces the “local” in numerous disciplines, including literature, sociology, and history. Local food, local exchange, and local autonomy are newly rediscovered as basic human values. The writings of Wendell Berry and Michael Pollan, for example, support a regional-based approach to food production in the USA, parallel to the “slow food” movement of

cultural materialism

162 “cultural materialism” is allied to Marxism, although often implicitly rather than explicitly. It is also hard to define because the concept itself depends on both the tension between and the breakdown of its constituent terms – “culture” and “materialism,” or rather, material forces – in ways which change the meanings of both. Thus the concept is materialist in that it suggests that cultural artifacts, institutions, and practices are in some sense determined by “material” processes; culturalist in its insistence that there is no crude material reality beyond culture – that culture is itself a material practice. To a certain extent, then, cultural materialism hangs on a Paradox: culture is itself material, yet there is always a further, shadowy, material reality that lies beyond it, and from which it derives its meaning. In this way cultural materialism runs the risk of mimicking the very idealism it seeks to repudiate. Moreover, as Raymond Williams pointed out in “Problems of materialism” (repr. in Williams, 1980), “materialism” is itself an implicitly metaphysical abstraction, and the concept of “the material” itself is constantly shifting. In its repudiation of mysticism and idealism, materialism has tended to be connected with radical political projects, but it is not inherently radical and there are clearly dangers in linking “frozen material laws” with particular political strategies. Cultural materialism was first developed as a description of his own method as much as a critical term by Raymond Williams, who clearly placed his work within a Marxist political and intellectual tradition in his later writings, although wishing to avoid the rigid and formulaic concepts of materialism mentioned above. Cultural materialism develops out of historical materialism, but, like other critiques of “classic” Marxism, is critical of its economic determinism, and in particular of the hierarchical division between “Base” and “Superstructure,” whereby political institutions, cultural forms, and social practices are seen as reflecting and being ultimately governed by economic forces and relationships. In his essay “Base and superstructure in Marxist cultural theory” (repr. in Williams, 1980), Williams emphasized the need to see the “base” as much as the “superstructure” as a process embodying different kinds of relationships rather than as an unchanging structure. He stressed the importance of developing a theory of

power and Ideology that can encompass a range of forms of production and reproduction. Why, he suggests, should the pianist be seen as less productive than the piano maker? Cultural materialism maintains that any theory of culture (not only Marxist) that presumes a distinction between “art” and “society” or “literature” and “background” is denying that culture – its methods of production, its forms, institutions, and kinds of consumption – is central to society. Cultural forms should never be seen as isolated texts but as embedded within the historical and material relationships and processes which formed them, and within which they play an essential part. Williams’s argument, that means of communication are themselves means of production rather than subordinate to some more “real” primary process, is crucial to this analysis. Human communication (whether it be “natural” forms such as speech, song, dance, drama, or the technological media) is itself socially productive as much as reproductive; moreover, it parallels other kinds of productive processes. These technologies of cultural production play a crucial part in shaping cultural forms and institutions, but do not determine them. A more nuanced and intricate theory of power is necessary to understand the ways in which dominant meanings and identities are produced, by state institutions, religious beliefs, education, and the media, and how they are contested or assimilated by subordinate and appositional groups. Williams developed his analysis of both the selective tradition and Dominant, residual, and emergent cultures to encompass this. Cultural materialist analysis developing from Williams’s work has tended to elaborate the latter aspects of his theories, and to emphasize processes of institutional cultural power in the shaping of identities rather than focusing on material production in the narrower sense, drawing on Althusser’s theory of Ideology, Gramsci’s conception of Hegemony, and Foucault’s definition of power. It has, moreover, tended to move again toward interpretation of specific Texts, concentrating on the role they play in forming an English literary tradition and a dominant English national identity. This is partly because of the institutional conditions within which this work is taking place – within English literature departments of universities. Cultural

163 Although many of the most explicit examples of cultural materialist criticism have been in Renaissance studies, there is also a substantial body of work on eighteenth and nineteenthcentury writing which develops a much longer history of Marxist and materialist criticism of the novel: the work of Georg Lukács, Ralph Fox, and Arnold Kettle, as well as Raymond Williams and contemporary literary theory. Ian Watt’s important work on the rise of the novel has been developed by critics such as Michael McKeon and Terry Lovell, while John Goode and Peter Widdowson have analyzed the ways in which Thomas Hardy and George Gissing were both situated in and contesting late nineteenthcentury ideologies and forms of Literary production. Feminist criticism, too, has taken up and expanded Virginia Woolf’s argument in A Room of One’s Own (1926) that it is material conditions which enable women to write, and that the development of the novel is dependent on this gendered material and ideological possibilities and constraints. See also Dominant/residual/emergent; New Historicism; Williams, Raymond.

Reading Belsey, Catherine 1985: The Subject of Tragedy: Identity and Difference in Renaissance Drama. Dollimore, Jonathan, and Sinfield, Alan, eds 1985: Political Shakespeare. Drakakis, John, ed. 1985: Alternative Shakespeares. Lovell, Terry 1985: Consuming Fiction. Sinfield, Alan 1992: Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading. Williams, Raymond 1961: The Long Revolution. —— 1980: Problems in Materialism and Culture. —— 1981: Culture.

jenny bourne taylor

cultural studies A diverse body of work from different locations concerned with the critical analysis of cultural forms and processes in contemporary and near-contemporary societies. There is no stable or single version of “cultural studies,” any more than there is of “English” or the other familiar self-proclaimed academic “subjects.” Instead the provenance and purposes of work in cultural studies have in important ways been various and context-specific. Currently, work is being initiated and carried forward in

cultural studies

materialism has recently been self-consciously developed in Britain to denote a more “political” counterpoint to New historicism in the United States, both tendencies focusing on Shakespeare and the Renaissance. In fact there is a considerable degree of overlap between the two tendencies, and although they have been developed in distinct institutional conditions, it is artificial to draw too firm a line between them. During the late 1980s and early 1990s a spate of debates on “the Shakespeare industry” appeared in British journals and more widely in the press, exploring the role that “Shakespeare” played not as an individual but as a cultural institution, continually produced and reproduced from a Canonical selective tradition as the centerpiece of the English literary heritage and in the light of contemporary notions of political legitimacy. Critics of this work complained that its account of cultural power was too monolithic, that it did not adequately address the contradictions in Shakespeare, but saw his plays as the passive bearers of the dominant ideology. In fact most cultural materialist criticism has stressed the ways in which Texts contain the seeds of opposition to the dominant structures they embody; they certainly do not see all canonical texts as straightforwardly complicit with the powers of the state, then or now. The analysis of cultural power depends on acknowledging its potency, its ability to speak to audiences in different historical situations, though not in a timeless way. Many of Shakespeare’s plays, particularly those set in historical and Roman times, have been reframed in various specific situations to legitimize the exercise of state violence. However this does not mean that the inherent meaning of all his work is to condone such violence or that it cannot form a part of very different agendas or inspire oppositional and alternative meanings: the British trade union leader Tom Mann was much given to quoting Henry V. Indeed, as Jonathan Dollimore, Alan Sinfield, Catherine Belsey, and Kathleen McCluskie have maintained, the stress has increasingly been on the subversive and dissident power of oppositional and marginal groups to reread and remake texts, shifting the emphasis from Writing and production in the original situation to reproduction and reading and the ideological contexts in which this takes place now.

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164 disparate locations and academic circumstances despite the increased visibility of work grouped together as cultural studies in globalized academic publishing. Consequently any narrative of the “development” of cultural studies (particularly if it stresses founding “fathers” or places) tends to be misleadingly overcoherent, though since new ventures require myths of origins, references to, for example, a “Birmingham school” have acquired their own momentum and significance. In fact, despite the plethora of such narratives (which this version will not escape), self-questioning about intellectual and political purposes and appropriate academic (or extraacademic) locations for the work have been among the few consistent features of analyses now widely recognized for their intellectual vitality and their questioning of existing frames – even though the term “cultural studies” itself was first used only in the 1960s. Of the various attempts to regroup intellectual fields since then (Women’s, black and peace Studies are other examples), cultural studies, drawing on the polysemy attached to “Culture” itself, has been a notable survivor, attractive for many and perhaps contradictory reasons. One set of circumstances for work later called cultural studies arose in Britain and some other countries during the 1950s and after. They included the personal experiences of various people whose own lifetimes and education entailed migrations across different cultural borders and worlds; developments in postwar societies resulting in considerable cultural change and innovation; and the inadequacy of existing academic disciplines to take account of either. Little work was being done on marked and visible cultural differences which (despite predictions of “embourgoisement”) included class and regional differences, new forms of Popular culture, youth cultures, “Counterculture”; little either on the pervasive newer forms of media, advertising, and music put into circulation through the “cultural” or “consciousness” industries. Sociology in its prevailing British and North American versions was typically policy-led, quantitative and positivist. The study of literatures and languages was engaged with the close reading of particular Texts but little with work outside the “Canon,” with what later became known as “theory,” or with contemporary developments. Wider intellectual engagements

were unusual so that Marxism, for example, was known only in easily devalued “economistic” terms. New intellectual interests were thus marked out with difficulty. A generation of quite different writers (compare for instance Barthes in France with Hoggart in England) had to discover a new way of working as they moved, unevenly and in stages, away from the hostile and despairing treatment of contemporary culture found in the ahistorical work of American New criticism, in the comprehensive but later embittered questioning of F.R. Leavis, or in the only partly known and rigorously bleak work of the Frankfurt school. Raymond Williams produced in a variety of articles, books, and journalism wideranging analyses of culture and cultural history, which were guardedly optimistic about new forms of media, while making astute political connections from his position as a founder of the New Left and self-described Welsh European socialist. Richard Hoggart wrote about the threatened strengths of working-class culture in Yorkshire and established at Birmingham the Centre for contemporary cultural studies, whose members, including Stuart Hall and many others, began to publish on youth culture, media, education, and on theories and methods in the new areas. By the 1980s much energy, in difficult conditions, had produced a body of material which in Britain, and increasingly in some former countries of the Commonwealth and the USA, could be seen to have marked out a distinctive space and way of working for cultural studies. The phrase “culture is ordinary” used by Williams in 1958 (see Gray and McGuigan, 1993) made a political claim against the exclusions of “selective traditions” of culture. His writing suggested that culture understood as meanings in negotiation is found in all kinds of “texts,” across different sites and institutions and throughout everyday life. If Adorno and others had observed the fractures between High and Popular culture (Schoenberg and Hollywood film as the “torn halves of an integral freedom” to which they did not add up), Williams recalled that culture could mean cultivation and growth, and argued for the democratic extension of culture as a shared work and common space. The agenda set for the study of culture thus became extremely wide, challenging the restrictions implicit in the

165 and decisions. Close study of cultural forms went alongside and contributed decisively to a larger account of contemporary societies, informed by social theories any by the perceptions of a political stance. Various forms of Marxism, with a particular stress on class divisions, the state, domination, and the workings of Ideology, underpinned much important work (for example, that of Stuart Hall). However, since Marxism, though concerned with struggle, typically did not recognize a category of culture (beyond that of class consciousness) the work of later Marxists, Voloshinov for his theory of language, semiotic struggle, and “multiaccentuality,” and Gramsci for his account of Hegemony, have been highly influential. Later work from the women’s movement delivered a critique of the gender-blindness of Marxism, forcefully establishing the centrality of Patriarchy and gender divisions within cultural analysis (see, for example, Franklin et al., 1991). By the 1980s, in both Britain and North America, questions of racism and anti-racism, migration and diaspora were also profoundly important politically and in the political analysis of culture (CCCS, 1982). At present a heightened attention to issues arising from globalization, reinforced by Postmodernism, further extends an already complex social analysis whose key terms (ideology, the state, gender, class, “race”) have to be both thought and used alongside each other and carefully questioned. Cultural forms have themselves been studied within a giddying acceleration of theoretical and “methodological” Paradigms. While some semiological work has seemed to remain text-bound and perhaps spuriously scientific, it has drawn attention to languages and procedures of representation. That meaning is constructed through language is illuminated powerfully both in work on discourse in critical linguistics and in Foucault’s work on forms of knowledge and power. Quite other dimensions of culture such as subjectivity, fantasy, and sexuality have been broached through the difficult terrain of psychoanalytic thought. Even so, there are other areas of culture where an adequate language of analysis is still to be found (for example, music) or where work has hardly begun (for example, religion). The characteristic object of cultural studies is, however, neither a theoretical commentary

cultural studies

divisions of academic organization and knowledge production. It also became contentious in both questioning judgments of cultural quality and its political engagement. By the end of the 1960s many different political events and movements led to a view of culture not as outside politics, nor as part of an organic (Leavis) or functionalist (Parsons) view of society, but as a site of conflict and struggle. Contemporary initiatives (for example, from the black and women’s movements) in “cultural politics” claimed political possibilities in cultural activity in ways unrecognized by the labor movement and either the social democratic or communist left. Because cultural analysis would include social and political dimensions, making connections across academic boundaries, the way was quickly opened for challenges offered by rediscovered traditions of Marxist thought. The impulses behind cultural analysis were thus and have remained a mixture of the intellectual, the personal, and the political. Typical work (for example, Williams, 1961; Hall et al., 1978; Coward, 1984; Gilroy, 1987) was exploratory and eclectic, addressing new objects of study and creating new kinds of analyses. While very different sites of culture were examined (from working-class or youth culture to political Discourses, from the cultures of schools and workplaces to those of shopping and consumerism, from versions of the national culture to “Enterprise culture,” from the cultural forms of Diaspora to those of lesbian sexuality), their analysis has often been explicitly committed, with distinctively personal, autobiographical, evaluative, and political dimensions, rather than laying claim to canons of science or objectivity. Studies have also unevenly combined various drawings or raids upon disparate bodies of theoretical work with a grounded, concrete attention to particular cultural forms and situations. If any one theme can be distinguished in the first phase of cultural studies, it is that of culture as the site of negotiation, conflict, innovation, and resistance within the social relations of societies dominated by power and fractured by divisions of Gender, Class, and “race.” Though specific analyses gave different weight to moments of domination or subordination, cultural forms and processes were seen as dynamic forces and not as secondary to or predictable from institutional forms or political and economic organization

cultural studies

166 strengthened by cultural references nor a particular form of culture, but a cultural process or moment, analyzed for particular purposes and in a specific place and time. Culture is located neither in texts, nor as the outcome of its production, nor only in the cultural resources, appropriations, and innovations of lived everyday worlds, but in different forms of sense making, within various settings, in societies incessantly marked by change and conflict. Culture is neither institutions nor genres nor behavior but complex interactions between all of these. It has been the decisive contribution to cultural studies of ethnographies, participant observation, interviewing, and the study of lived worlds to show, for example, that however sophisticated may be the cultural study of a text, a policy, an ideology, or discourse, a form is used, reworked, and transformed by different groups in ways unpredictable from formal analysis. This is true of how media are taken up, selectively used, and explained (see Encoding/Decoding), the ways in which school pupils or a workforce construct their experiences, the selective appropriations or innovations which people make of discourses, ideologies, and various cultural forms in their daily lives. In this important area work has differed in both approach and interpretation. There are various kinds of subtle and theoretically informed textual analysis, and other studies dealing with the complexities and challenges of observation and interviews. By either route, stress has been laid differently upon, say, the degree of closure brought about through ideologies disseminated through dominant forces of production or upon the potentiality of spaces for creativity and resistance (itself a problematic but important term in cultural studies work). The work of Willis, Radway, and Fiske typifies a divergence of empirical focus, the theoretical working of material, and in the complex mix of resources brought to bear on what is done and how it is written, including questions about the intended audience or constituencies for such work. There issues are inextricably linked with the locations in and from which cultural studies can be carried out. The new work necessarily sustained a critique of the “disciplines” whose limits brought the exploration and innovation into being. If the now professionalized disciplines of higher education valuably included a concentration upon

distinctive objects of knoweldge, core concepts and productive ways of working, they also erected hierarchies and boundaries. Issues may be first considered from a disciplinary background but their pursuit may lead elsewhere. One model for this work has been that of collaboration between those trained in different disciplines, producing (as in the Birmingham Centre) group work and joint authorship which proved to be supportive, valuable in its outcomes, and a challenge to the competitive individualism of some parts of the academy. Some of the best-known texts in this field have resulted from joint work, and in future this may include collaboration between teaching and research staff and students working in different parts of the world. There has also been some debate and ambivalence about whether universities are the only or best place in which to pursue cultural studies. Williams saw the work as rooted in the adult education wing of the labor movement, others have tried to develop networks, alliances, and dialogs with other groups. While 30 years ago academics were sometimes found commenting and writing in the media, there has now been some lessening of the possibilities in the West for debates in a public sphere. All this forms part of a contradiction, of which those working in cultural studies are aware, between the development of a critical space, open as wide as possible, and the necessity to work somewhere in the university while developing connections and dialogues elsewhere as circumstances permit. The characteristic divide between humanities and social sciences is particularly obstructive to cultural studies, which seeks to understand meanings as they are made, exchanged, and developed within wider social relations. Cultural studies within literature departments, instead of questioning the whole disciplinary formation, run some danger of being appropriated within schools of “theory” or, perversely, of being confined to “popular” and extracanonical Writing. Opportunities seem to be wider in the study of foreign cultures, or in area studies (including American and Russian studies, while the British Council appears to see cultural studies in Britain as part of “British” studies) where the restrictions of literature, language, and institutions may be remapped in cultural studies. Meanwhile in the social sciences it has always been clear that cultural studies are wider and other than media studies,

167 and awareness of its implications, may serve to decenter the West in cultural studies in the future. Postmodernist Paradigms are active in cultural studies as everywhere else, but postcolonial approaches may question them in significant ways. There will be a more informed awareness of international movements, cross-cultural issues, cultural migrations, and hybridities. Characteristic models of cultural domination and subordination will need to become more complex, and no longer exclude more mainstream cultural forms – say the cultures of the suburbs. The study of cultural policy and the application of cultural studies to policy issues, or to take a different instance the cultural study of science or religion, have scarcely begun. The current situation is, as before, paradoxical. “Cultural studies” has become a widely recognized and referenced body of work, of interest to many kinds of students but at times also outside education, characterized by a rich (and not yet absorbed) diversity of approaches and interests and also by a degree of (possibly cherished) marginality. There are few working in this area and with few resources. A space has been made, with difficulty, for the registration of important issues outside the existing educational agenda, but the previous disciplines are changing (deceptively fracturing) while cultural studies now has its own languages and institutional presence, not always conducive to participation in a wider and public debate. Work in cultural studies is likely to remain volatile, self-reflexive, and alert to new questions, but may need now to help contribute toward more of a common agenda with attached priorities, across the specialist interests of the humanities and social sciences, and to respond to a new period in which the hegemony of the New Right, and also of the West, is fast breaking up.

Reading Adorno, T.W. 1991: The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. Agger, B. 1992: Cultural Studies as Critical Theory. Blundell, V., Shepherd, J., and Taylor, I., eds 1993: Relocating Cultural Studies. Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies 1982: The Empire Strikes Back. Clarke, J. 1991: New Times and Old Enemies: Essays on Cultural Studies and America. Coward, R. 1984: Female Desire: Women’s Sexuality Today.

cultural studies

but there are important moves in both media and communication studies towards a dialog with more qualitative work in which media cannot be separated from many other social and cultural developments. Sociology too shows signs of giving cultural issues greater weight, sometimes confined to a subspecialism called “the sociology of culture” and sometimes with greater or lesser unease about the credentials of a newcomer. Elsewhere cultural studies forms the basis for analytical work and debates within such practicebased subjects as fine art, textiles, photography, and music. At one level all this is part of a debate about whether cultural studies (and much other recent work) are of necessity cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary or (Clarke) “undisciplined,” or is part of a shift into a “postdisciplinary” period in academic work, perhaps linked to other postmodern developments. New convergences arise with work in geography or critical linguistics. Cultural studies in many parts of the world offered a third way between empiricisms and the abstractions of neo-Marxist (for example, Habermas) and other forms of theory, and also a space in which to deal with urgent contemporary and political questions running across existing divisions of intellectual labor. That space has to be found and developed, although its location and form will vary from one setting to another, at times within (and questioning) a discipline, at others a program across departments or a shared arena with different memberships. These are equally issues about the construction of a course or curriculum in cultural studies, and ways of working, learning, and teaching most appropriate to students bringing their own agendas and for whom equally the personal, political, and intellectual are present at once. Thus there can be no single agenda or best place for cultural studies if proper account is taken of changing and also particular circumstances. That is why work so far exemplifies Gramsci’s comment on culture itself, that it represents an infinity of traces without an inventory, given the impact of divergent paradigms, formations, and political movements and situations. However, while this account has concentrated on the “First World,” it seems likely that interests in cultural studies from many other parts of the world, combined with the heightened speed of globalization

cultural theory

168 During, S., ed. 1993: The Cultural Studies Reader. Fiske, J. 1989: Understanding Popular Culture. Franklin, S., Lury, C., and Stacey, J. 1991: Off-Centre: Feminism and Cultural Studies. Gilroy, P. 1987: There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation. Gray, A., and McGuigan, J. 1993: Studying Culture: An Introductory Reader. Green, M., ed. 1987: Broadening the Context: English and Cultural Studies. Hall, S., Critcher, C., Jefferson, T., Clarke, J., and Roberts, B. 1978: Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order. Hardt, H. 1992: Critical Communication Studies: Communications, History and Theory in America. Journal of the MidWest Modern Language Association 1991: “Cultural studies and New Historicism.” McRobbie, A. 1994: Postmodernism and Popular Culture. Radway, J. 1984 (1987): Reading the Romance. Williams, R. 1961: The Long Revolution. Willis, P. 1979: Learning to Labour.

michael green

cultural theory

See Introduction

culture A term of virtually limitless application, which initially may be understood to refer to everything that is produced by human beings as distinct from all that is a part of nature. However, it has often been observed that since nature is itself a human abstraction, it too has a history, which in turn means that it is part of culture. In his efforts to deal with the apparently universal occurrence of incest prohibitions in human societies, Claude Lévi-Strauss candidly admits that the distinction between culture and nature is an instance of theoretical Bricolage, in the sense that the distinction is simultaneously inadequate and indispensable. Two extreme attempts to limit the meaning of the term can be found in its technical use by North American anthropologists to refer to the primary data of anthropology, and in its honorific use, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century (for example, by Matthew Arnold) to refer to the finest products of civilization. In a bold effort to avoid these extremes, Clifford Geertz defines culture by way of Semiotics as the “webs of significance” spun by human beings (1973, p. 5). Yet even such an open definition as this presupposes an

extraordinarily powerful (but perhaps justifiable) role for the semiotic in human life. Raymond Williams begins his famous essay on “culture” by admitting that it is “one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (1988, p. 87). The complexity, however, is not just a matter of the utility of a term or the efficacy of a concept. For those who confront the living reality of cultural conflict, the issue may be one of having – or not having – oneself or one’s relations recognized by another culture’s definition of the human. Homi Bhabha, accordingly, concludes that “there can be no ethically or epistemologically commensurate subject of culture.” If it is not possible to identify a transcendent humanity that is not itself based on a particular culture’s sense of value, then all that is left is what Bhabha calls “culture’s archaic undecidability” (1994, p. 135). If one ethnic or national group can define another as nonhuman or subhuman, then culture becomes suddenly and tribally specific and exclusive. The definition itself is an act of violence and an invitation to potential if not actualized genocide. When one culture eliminates what it considers not human, it identifies itself, according to its own definition, as human. Cultural identification in such a context takes on ultimate power. Although some of the initial violence of cultural definition has been recognized as an instance of Orientalism, or a Western effort to define and specify Asian culture as the alien – or idealized – other, more recent politically active efforts have been exerted to draw cultural definitions within what were once unified nation states in Eastern Europe or Africa. Just as Nazi definitions of the human required efforts to exclude Jews and just as southern American definitions of humanity once excluded blacks, so now in South Asia, Africa, and elsewhere in the world cultural definitions are instruments of the political power of identity exclusion. To define “culture” is to define the human; to be excluded from the definition can have an ultimate cost. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, culture has been subjected to a range of definitions that extend from Arnold’s all-embracing sense of the possibility of human perfection to Pierre Bourdieu’s systems of symbolic violence. In Culture and Anarchy (1869) Arnold thought of culture as a redemptive pursuit through a principally


Reading Bhabha, Homi K. 1994: The Location of Culture. Bourdieu, Pierre 1993: The Field of Cultural Production. Jenks, Chris 1993: Culture. Kroeber, A.L., and Kluckhohn, C. 1952: Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions.

michael payne

culture, consumer

culture, counter

See Consumer culture

See Counterculture

culture, enterprise See Enterprise culture

culture, folk

culture, high

See Folk culture

See High culture

culture industries Culture industries can be defined, simply enough, as those industries which produce cultural goods. Or, to put it the other way round: Generally speaking, a cultural industry is held to exist when cultural goods and services are produced and reproduced, stored and distributed on industrial and commercial lines, that is to say on a large scale and in accordance with a strategy based on economic considerations rather than any concern for cultural development. (UNESCO, 1982)

This definition applies both to cultural forms which depend on “craft production” and “mass reproduction” (as in the publishing industry and, to some extent, the music business) and to media which depend on large-scale capital investment and collective technological production with an elaborate division of labor (such as the film and television industries). There is by now, indeed, a large body of sociological and business studies literature on “the production of culture,” studies which examine in detail the industrial “valueadding” process through which songs, novels, television programmes, films, etc. must these days pass (see, for example, Peterson, 1976). The use of the term “culture” in such descriptions means, however, that the analysis of the culture industries is never, in fact, a simple matter of economics or management theory. To describe the film, music, publishing, or television industries as culture industries (rather than as, say, Entertainment industries) is to imply critical questions about both their creative practices and social effects.

culture industries

literary education of the best that human beings had thought and said. In his view, culture in this sense has the potential of harmoniously unifying all of human society. In part transmitted by T.S. Eliot, this mission for literary culture has been very influential in Britain and the United States. Not surprisingly, the intellectual revolutions brought about by the thought of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud have had profound effects on post-Arnoldian theories of culture. In a perverse version of Darwin’s theory of evolution, the American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan in 1877, despite his humanitarianism and efforts on behalf of native American culture (See Native American studies), developed a system for hierarchically classifying cultures according to evolutionary stages. Other early cultural evolutionists included Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917), who founded the British school of social anthropology. Engels too had an evolutionary (or perhaps de-evolutionary) view of culture, most clearly expressed in his Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, where he sees the emergence of civilization as not only magnifying previously existing systems of labor but also creating the merchant class, “a class that makes itself the indispensable intermediary between any two producers and exploits them both” (Marx and Engels, 1968, p. 548). While suspicious of progressivist ideas and uses of history, Nietzsche (1983, p. 123) thought he saw “true culture” emerging from a recovery of the “moral nature” of the classical Greeks in repudiation of the legacy of Rome. For Freud, especially in Civilization and Its Discontents (1930), culture provides not only a bulwark against nature but also as such an unrelenting source of opposition to instinct, which leads in turn to a continuous discontent by human beings with that structure of defense that they have created out of their always divided subjectivity.

culture industries

170 The first systematic, analytic use of the term “culture industry” can thus be found in the Frankfurt school critique of mass culture (see, for example, Horkheimer and Adorno, 1947 (1972) and Adorno, 1991). For Horkheimer and his German colleagues, the point of the term “culture industry” was its implication that the Marxist critique of commodity production in general could (and should) be applied to the production of symbolic goods in particular, to the production of goods whose “use value” was aesthetic, diverting, and ideological. The culture industries were thus like any other capitalist industry: they used “alienated” labor; they pursued profit; they looked to technology – to machinery – to provide a competitive edge; they were primarily in the business of producing “consumers.” The implications of this approach to mass culture are familiar: the mode of cultural production determines cultural value; the formal qualities of mass cultural goods are an effect of production techniques and the management of competition; the “pleasures” of mass culture are essentially irrational, the effect of the efficient commercial manipulation of desire. Ironically, the first argument (given a Romantic gloss) became commonplace within the cultural industries themselves, where a distinction came to be made between cultural goods produced for “commercial” and “artistic” reasons (this was the basis of the late 1960s distinction between “rock” and “pop” music, for example). And if, in practice, it is difficult to find any form of contemporary culture that is not, somewhere along the line, implicated in the process of industrial production (even Schoenberg’s music is primarily heard on record), the Frankfurt argument was now turned on its head: to assign a cultural commodity aesthetic value is to imply that it is, somehow, produced “autonomously” (for “artistic purposes”). And this is, in turn, indicated by its challenge to or denial of the usual technical conventions and sales formulas of mass cultural production. It is claimed, in other words, that some goods (some films, some records, some books) really are different, individual, or unique; this is not just the appearance of “difference” within that standardization of the mass cultural product which was, for Adorno, the essence of the industrial process. The distinction can then be drawn, similarly,

between serious appreciation (of the songs of Bob Dylan, the films of Martin Scorsese, the books of Stephen King) and mindless consumption (of Kylie Minogue records, Elvis Presley movies, and Jeffrey Archer bestsellers). Even within the Discourse of the cultural industries themselves, in short, a distinction is drawn between goods produced (and consumed) for purely “commercial reasons” (and thus worthless) and goods which exist for “artistic reasons,” which cannot therefore really be understood as part of the industrial process at all! For the Frankfurt scholars, though (Adorno found this sort of argument – about jazz, for instance – ludicrous), the analytic significance of the term “culture industry” was that it described a production system, a system in which cultural forms were determined by the logic of capital accumulation and not by any particular creative or political decisions taken by any particular artists or entrepreneurs. Detailed textual analysis or comparison was unnecessary; all that mattered was to understand the basic production process (Adorno wrote about “popular music,” not about specific songs), and so, whatever radical or critical claims they may make, the effect of cultural commodities is always the same: the manipulation of desire in the pursuit of profit. The Frankfurt school, in other words, treated cultural consumption as pathological, as something to be explained in psychological and psychoanalytic terms (there was, significantly, a clear overlap in its thinking here with that of the advertising business, which was, of course, precisely interested in the problems of consumer control), and, in the end, Horkheimer and Adorno used the term “culture industry” very broadly, to describe the way in which a capitalist economy depends on the production not of goods but of needs: The stronger the position of the culture industry, the more summarily it can deal with consumers’ needs, producing them, controlling them, disciplining them, and even withdrawing amusement; no limits are set to cultural progress of this kind. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1972, p. 144)

From this critical perspective, entertainment (“amusement”) is crucial to social reproduction,

171 attention to all citizens’ interests, to assemble audiences rather than to service markets. In the context of analysis of the culture industries, though, the important point about public service broadcasting is the evidence it provides that the organization of cultural production is an effect of state policies and legislative frameworks and not just of market forces; in broadcasting practice, therefore, the question is not either public service or commerce, but rather the state regulation, more or less detailed, of the cultural marketplace. Regulation here is not just an economic matter (a question of ownership and control) but an ideological and a moral issue. Libel, secrecy, and obscenity laws, for example, have an effect on both what is (or is not) produced and on who may consume it. In the 1980s, partly as a result of technological changes that meant that the nation was no longer the “natural” market boundary for cultural goods (as satellite and cable operators began to compete with broadcasters, so television became, like the cinema, records, and print, an essentially international medium), and partly as an effect of the political emphasis on the use of market rather than state forces to determine investment and production decisions, there was across North America and Western (and then Eastern) Europe a general “deregulation” which had a marked impact on the culture industries. The decline of public service broadcasting in particular meant, at least in the short run, new opportunities for “independent” program makers and producers (and technological changes, particularly digitalization, made possible the decentralization of even high-quality audiovisual production in all sectors of the mass media). This was the context for a new use of the term “culture industries,” with reference to their contribution (in comparison with other industries) to wealth creation and employment. This was, to begin with, a national response to the globalization of cultural production. Governments began to ask themselves a question that was simultaneously economic and political: does a country need a television industry? A music industry? A sports industry? (Any more than it needs a car industry? A computer industry?) What was the balance of economic and political profit and loss in cultural investment? These questions had a different resonance at the local level. Regions and cities which were facing

culture industries

and Frankfurt studies in the 1930s and 1940s tended to focus on the culture of entertainment, on music, film, radio, and magazines (and besides, as Adorno pointed out, fascism was a particularly “entertaining” form of mass political mobilization, preoccupied with symbol and style and the use of the unconscious). Critical British and American cultural theorists have customarily approached the mass media from a different position, and for them the term “culture industry” has therefore had a different significance and focused different concerns (see Williams, 1961). Here the political questions are about ownership and control; the issue is the ownership of knowledge and the control of information (and the key culture industries are thus taken to be the press and broadcasting rather than, say, pop music and the cinema). From this perspective, the specific policies of specific individuals do matter; texts (newspapers, magazines, television programs) can be compared and studied – they reveal the effects of different owners, producers, and organizations. This is to raise the question of whether or not a culture industry is necessarily a capitalist form, whether its practices are inevitably the effect of commercial logic: can the state not influence or control or regulate cultural production? These questions have been addressed, in particular, to broadcasting, and answered through the concept of public service: “public service broadcasting” is thus defined as an alternative to “commercial broadcasting,” a way of funding program production and organizing radio and television audiences which is determined by neither market forces nor advertiser needs. Public service broadcasting (and, in principle, other culture industries could be organized along similar lines), is thus financed by taxes or license fees and is not subject to the ideological or political views of any particular property owner – its problem is, rather, to negotiate the tricky relationship between state and government, between political and professional control. Similarly, public service broadcasters are answerable to the needs of the “public” rather than to those of advertisers or sponsors or shareholders, and the “public” in this context is a composite, made up of numerous “minorities.” A public service broadcaster like the BBC is, in short, expected to present news and information in an “unbiased” and “balanced” way, but also to pay

culture, musicology and

172 economic decline as a result of the collapse of the old heavy industries (steel, coal, shipbuilding, etc.) looked to the “service sector,” to culture industries, as a possible source of new investment, new jobs, a new municipal profile. In the United States Baltimore was the influential pioneer of this economic strategy, which meant, among other things, repackaging the now dead industries as culture, as “heritage,” as an attraction for tourists. In Britain “cultural industries policy” was first developed at the end of the 1970s by the left-wing Greater London Council, and although its strategy reflected London’s importance as a media and culture centre, the GLC’s treatment of the cultural sector as an industrial sector was taken up by most large Labour-controlled municipal councils in Britain in the 1980s. There are clearly contradictions between these various accounts of culture as industry (even though they all derive in one way or another from a socialist critique of liberal economics) and they have rather different political implications (Adorno, for example, and Raymond Williams too, would surely find it bizarre that a left-wing socialist council should invest in, say, a video promotion studio). When they originally used the term “culture industry,” Horkheimer and Adorno were deliberately creating a little frisson, putting together two terms that were meant to be kept apart: “culture” was usually seen as quite independent of the economy. And even now, when we are much more accustomed to the argument that the market is the best guarantor of quality and choice in this economic sector as in any other, there remains a residual belief that the production of culture is not quite like (or should not be quite like) the production of other goods, that it has an ideological and ethical significance that cannot be entrusted to market forces. It is striking, for example, that the politicians most committed in the 1970s and 1980s to the deregulation of the media in ownership terms (Thatcher and Reagan, for example) were also committed to increased regulation in moral terms (with reference to “video nasties,” the “promotion” of homosexuality, etc.). In short, culture industries are both like and unlike other industries; and they are always therefore going to be the subject of intense political and theoretical debate. Culture is too important for the life and meaning of a nation for its produc-

tion to be left to private enterprise; and culture is too valuable as a source of power and profit for private entepreneurs to leave it alone.

Reading Adorno, T.W. 1991: The Culture Industry: Selected Essays in Mass Culture. —— and Horkheimer, Max 1947 (1972): Dialectics of Enlightenment. Peterson, R.A. 1976: The Production of Culture. UNESCO 1982: Cultural Industries. A Challenge for the Future of Culture. Williams, Raymond 1961: The Long Revolution.

simon frith

culture, musicology and See Musicology and culture

culture, urban

See Urban culture

cultures and minds Cultures are seductive. Have you ever been on holiday abroad and watched, with a tourist’s yearning distance, the “locals” in smooth concert with one another, playing the lyra, the flute, the fiddle – laughing, talking, knowing each other? I remember an occasion in a village in southern Crete where a group of conference attendees had emerged from a long evening of intellectual discussion in Kostas’s icon-filled cafeneon into the dark and mostly deserted village square. Just one other cafeneon was open. And a group of shepherds had come down from the hills and were singing together in it with a powerful camaraderie. Occasional words were evident to us – the ubiquitous “Aman, aman,” the inevitable “kardia mou,” and a few others. All we knew was the mournful music and that they all knew what they were singing. They were probably as curious about us as we of them, eyes met even as they sang, and renewed while we shared yet another raki, and then moved reluctantly on. But that passing contact stays with me. I remember their enviable togetherness and wanting to join them, to talk, to understand, to belong to their secret community. “Other” cultures attract, they beckon, draw us in, seduce. Rather like people really! I am going to argue that cultures and minds share a common history in some ways. They are


Common Problems The philosopher’s tormented battle with the “problem of other minds” – now dumped onto the methodical and systematically confused shoulders of psychology – has not yet ended. The problem lives in the impossible tension between feeling that we know that other minds exist and deciding that we cannot prove that they do. Try exploring with students the certainty of their conviction that other minds exist in conjunction with their equal certainty that minds cannot be “known,” and something of the frustration of this problem becomes apparent. The problem takes different guises in different hands – either it is only other minds that are seen as opaque, with our own giving us privileged access (the Cartesian analysis), or it is all minds that are opaque, our own included (the theory analysis). Within each account, however, other minds are occluded from perception. They become mysterious, occult, closed to the knower. In the case of cultures much the same problem has had a hold. “How can we get into the native’s skin without actually being a native?” it has been asked (see Geertz, 1995). The assumptions of opacity are almost entirely the same: perceptual opacity is caused by the barrier of the skin. We might think we can as little know, with the kind of certainty we reserve for the word “know,” the mysterious “culture” of the Greek shepherds as we can the “mind” of the man across the street, and we can be frustrated in the extreme by our incomprehension of other cultures’ strangenesses. Yet we travel to see far away peoples, despite distressing differences in diet or temperature or habits of politeness and morality, and manage somehow to engage with them, understand them, and even love them. Once again, we could see the difficulty as lying with our ability to understand other cultures while assuming that our own is transparent to us, or we could see all culture as only being accessible to conceptual understanding, to theorizing. In both

cases the assumption is that cultures are closed and fundamentally inaccessible to the outsider. Conceptualizing Minds and Cultures Has the category mistake that Ryle (1958) accused psychology of making – in terms of separating the kind of thing bodies are from the kind of thing mind is, and thus leading to the odd conclusion that if we can’t see minds therefore they are hidden – also been made by social anthropology in relation to culture? Is culture similarly conceived as a hidden determinant of actions, unavailable to perception, but existing somehow in another dimension similar to the Cartesian res cogitans? Psychology has struggled hard with the consequences of this dualism. It has veered between two unsatisfactory solutions to the impossible situation of being a science of the unknowable. The “argument from analogy” has led to what can broadly be called first-person solutions, convincing up to a point, but presupposing the very knowledge they claim to be uncovering (Merleau-Ponty, 1961) and dependent on a strikingly insecure solitary knowledge base for their analogical inferences (Malcolm, 1962). The theory or best-fitting hypothesis solution (Hammond et al., 1991), what might be called a third-person solution, is also convincing in parts, but as a fundamental solution, holding sternly to a blindness to all mentality, it is fraught with absurdity (Costall, 2007; Leudar and Costall, 2009). The emic–etic debate within social anthropology offers not quite a parallel but something close. It pits, in opposition to each other, two angles on “other” cultures: we can describe or understand them in terms of our own cultures, or we can do so in their own terms, which we cannot quite relate to ours. Both of these angles assume a necessary division between the “terms” of each culture, they accept a difference that cannot be bridged. For the scientist, more recent solutions are on offer where the knower alternates his or her position from one perspective to the other and back again. Each “view” of the other is informed and amended by the next view (Segall et al., 1999). But the very existence of the debate could be seen to be postulating a Gap (like the presumed Gap between Minds) that makes all bridges inherently unsatisfactory. On the face of it this may

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similarly and powerfully attractors of the outsider and the uninitiated. They have been approached academically with the same problems of apparent opacity, and they have been offered the same unsatisfactory solutions. I will also suggest that the same route – engagement – is the only one that gets us access to either minds or cultures, and that, in fact makes them what they are.

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174 seem a very strange argument. After all it is the very fact of cultural differences, of our awareness of different ways of thinking, speaking, categorizing, or responding, that leads us to ask: how do we get across to each other despite the differences? No, I am not saying that all cultures are “the same really,” as little as I am saying that all minds are the same. But the Gap is problematic because it imposes a top-down problem on a very real difference. It posits a fundamental separation (between minds or between cultures) and assumes an essential lack of relation and relatability. Identity is not the only route to transparency. Engagement, Participation and Knowing Many writers have identified a difference between a theoretical or inferential way of knowing and something more direct. Sometimes the difference is expressed in terms of “objective” rather than “intersubjective” knowing; sometimes in terms of an unreflective emotional engagement or genuine dialogue rather than a reflective, more distant dialogue; sometimes in terms of participation and involvement rather than observation or spectatorship. Whenever this distinction is drawn the epistemological emphasis is on the engagement, the relation, the involvement. And the route it offers to knowing other minds is necessarily applicable to knowing other cultures. There is, for instance, John Macmurray’s identification of relation as the key: “I can know another person as a person only by entering into personal relation with him. Without this I can know him only by observation and inference; only objectively” (Macmurray, 1961, p. 28). Or there is Martin Buber’s distinction between the I–Thou and the I–It as two forms of relating and knowing, with the primary form, the I–Thou, involving unreflective openness to the other in emotional engagement (Buber, 1937). What if we don’t enter into personal relation or open ourselves in dialogue? Is there any way in which we can observe from the outside and know? Yes. We can. But our knowledge is necessarily that of the bystander. Theoretical, indirect, inferential. A third person knowledge. Useful sometimes. Invaluable sometimes. But ultimately inadequate on its own. It would be rather like the kind of understanding that aliens observing earthlings from afar might be expected to construct!

There are three key points that are necessary consequences of accepting the primacy of engagement. First, unless it is to be distorted beyond recognition, personal relation or I–Thou engagement demands a momentary transparency of the one to the other. We engage not with the other’s behavior but with the other as an intentional person and, however unreflectively and unconsciously, we know the other as such. Their minds are open to us within the engagement because we feel a response to their intentionality in relation to us. In other words, the Gap as normally constituted disappears. Second, “the other” that we have been talking about – whether in relation to minds or cultures – has to disappear. If relation or engagement is primary there can be no “the” before “other”; there is a necessary plurality of others. “The other” is limited to specific relations and there are as many “others” as there are relations. Third, if engagement or dialogue requires being open to the other in emotional terms, then this openness or unscriptedness (even if it is not mutual) must lead to conversational or relational “products” that are not knowable at the start. In other words, if engagement or relation or dialogue is open, then it takes you to places that you do not necessarily anticipate – it creates the very things that you could then try to understand reflectively. With regard both to mind and to cultures, it is only in the process of emotional engagement that others can be felt by us, and us by them, and that demands the creation of new twists in being, new mental or cultural elements, and that in this way allows participation with them to turn into becoming a part of them. In some small way at least our involvement with other minds and other cultures includes us into their being. How Engagement Begins A look at early engagement in infancy can be informative. The nature and processes of these engagements seem to point to the constitutive nature of dialogue in the early creation of minds and cultures. Human neonates show from minutes after birth not only an interest in things human (such as faces and voices: Fantz, 1963; Goren et al., 1975; DeCasper and Fifer, 1980; Johnson and Morton, 1991) but an interest in engaging with them to the extent that they imitate facial and manual gestures (Meltzoff and Moore, 1977;

175 encourage in the infants those actions that the culture values. Emotional engagements such as clowning and showing off are vital for maintaining culture. Even more crucial, however, is teasing. Culture cannot survive simply on the basis of the affirmation of its practices by new members. Arguably, it needs challenge and extension to its boundaries and its practices in order to thrive. Infant teasing is a fascinating example of how, even in the first year of life, such challenge to boundaries can occur (Reddy, 1991). From as early as nine months of age teasing by infants can typically be seen in the reversal of newly mastered social gestures (for instance, having just learned to give objects on request, infants often play with these social routines, offering then cheekily withdrawing objects when others reach out for them), or in the deliberate and playful disruptions of others’ actions (for instance, pushing cushions back onto the floor as fast as the mother is clearing them up in order to vacuum the floor), or in provocative noncompliance with others’ commands (for instance, deliberately reaching out to “almost touch” the plug sockets, interested in seeing how far they can push the parental reaction rather than in actually touching the socket). Teasing can be seen as the archetypal creator of cultural boundaries (see for instance, Groos, 1976). It is the essence of dialogue – where the unexpected and the unplanned enter to keep relations fresh and alive. Engagement, ultimately, is the route we are on, a route that latter day psychology had turned away from, though anthropology (especially since Malinowski) appears to have embraced it. And it matters: it matters whether we see other minds and other cultures as opaque or open, as relatable to or as needing interpretation. It matters because how we think about this question influences (although fortunately never entirely) how we act towards them. If we think that other people – take infants – have little in the way of thoughts and feelings and sensitivities, we are unlikely to take care in terms of protecting their thoughts and feelings and sensitivities – much like the belief in their lack of pain led to intrusive practices like surgery without anesthesia, or the skepticism about their emotional reactions to conversations led to desperate experiments to demonstrate it in the form of still face studies.

cultures and minds

Kugiumutzakis, 1998) and, watching intently, even seek to provoke them in their absence (Nagy and Molnar, 2004). Debates still rage about the intentionality and communicative function of neonatal imitation, but the phenomenon involves an immediate responsiveness to the actions of others that reveals a very early openness to cultural involvement. Within two months of birth infants are involved in what has been called proto-conversation, with reciprocal exchanges of vocalizations, facial expressions, and arm movements (Bateson, 1979; Trevarthen, 1980; Stern, 1985). Infants during this period respond to adult conversational initiatives with varieties of affect: smiles (Wolff, 1987), distress, unemotional gaze avoidance (Brazelton, 1986) or coyness (Reddy, 2000). The issue of whether these conversations are actually intersubjective (Trevarthen, 2001, 2007) or merely involve the illusion of conversational turn-taking (Kaye, 1984) has been extensively tested with the use of “still face” and “double video replay” studies, which have shown that a lack of contingent and appropriate responses from their conversational partners matters to infants (Murray and Trevarthen, 1985; Cohn and Tronick, 1989; Nadel and Tremblay-Leveau, 1999), and that the previous sensitivity and attunement of their mothers affects the extent to which they are perturbed (Legerstee and Varghese, 2001). Even at this early age, infants develop expectations about other people’s responsiveness and styles of responding (including what one might see as disturbed expectations when their experience is problematic; Field, 1984), and carry these expectations forward to new people they meet – evidence of their involvement in culture even by the age of two months. Infants in the second half of the first year of life not only tune into the habits and styles of the people around them, but, interestingly, actively contribute to the development of new cultural patterns. Developing an awareness of other people’s reactions to specific acts and expressions they happen to perform, they often deliberately repeat these actions to re-elicit laughter, displaying the motivation and sensitivity to humor of clowns, or as showing off to elicit attention and praise (Reddy, 1991, 2001, 2005, 2008). Their interest in others’ emotional reactions to their own actions serves to validate these reactions as well as to

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176 Perhaps even more seriously, if we see infants as knowing little about our minds, we will make little effort to express our thoughts and feelings (perhaps when positive) or to disguise them (perhaps when negative). We will create the kinds of interactions appropriate for an infant who cannot understand us – observing them, training them, keeping them happy, but not really engaging with them. But engagement is vital. Its consequences are immediate in terms of affording or denying the baby the experiences that could emerge from them, and also, of course, for affording or denying the parent the experience of the baby that comes from those engagements. The way in which we allow ourselves to engage with others circumscribes the way in which we can know them: you might say, the more we engage with others, the more we can engage with them. The same can be said about our engagements with other cultures. If we shut doors on dialogue – by assuming either our own blindness to their thoughts and feelings or theirs to ours – we would be at risk of creating the very reality we assume. By not engaging we neither feel them, nor constitute a shared reality, nor create the contexts within which engagement can recover. The seductiveness of other minds and other cultures is worth giving in to.

Reading Bateson, M.C. 1979: “The epigenesis of conversational interaction: a personal account of research development.” Brazelton, T.B. 1976 (1986): “The development of newborn behaviour.” Buber, M. 1937: I and Thou. Cohn, J.F. and Tronick, E.Z. 1989: “Specificity of infants’ response to mothers’ affective behaviour.” Costall, A. 2007: “Getting over ‘the problem of other minds’: Communication in context.” DeCasper, A.J. and Fifer, W.P. 1980: “Of human bonding: newborns prefer their mothers’ voices.” Fantz, R. L. 1963: “Pattern vision in human neonates.” Farroni, T., Menon, E. and Johnson, M. 2006: “Factors influencing newborns’ preference for faces with eye contact.” Field, T.M. 1984: “Early interactions between infants and their post-partum depressed mothers.” Geertz, C. 1979 (1995): “From the native’s point of view: on the nature of anthropological understanding.”

Goren, C.G., Sarty, M. and Wu, P.Y.K. 1975: “Visual following and pattern discrimination of face-like stimuli by newborn infants.” Groos, K. 1898 (1976): “Teasing: the play of man.” Hammond, M. et al. 1991: Understanding Phenomenology. Johnson, M.H. and Morton, J. 1991: Biology and Cognitive Development: The Case of Face Recognition. Kaye, K. 1984: The Mental and Social Life of Babies: How Parents Create Persons. Kugiumutzakis, G. 1998: “Neonatal imitation in the intersubjective companion space.” Legerstee, M. and Varghese, J. 2001: “The role of maternal affect mirroring on social expectancies in 3-month-old infants.” Leudar, I. and Costall, A. 2009: Against Theory of Mind. Macmurray, J. 1961: Persons in Relation. Malcolm, N. 1962: “Knowledge of other minds.” Merleau-Ponty, M. 1961: The Phenomenology of Perception. Meltzoff, A. and Moore, K. 1977: “Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates.” Murray, L. and Trevarthen, C. 1985: “Emotional regulation of interactions between two-month-old infants and their mothers.” Nadel, J. and Tremblay-Leveau, H. 1991 (1999): “Early perception of social contingencies and interpersonal intentionality: dyadic and triadic paradigms.” Nagy, E. and Molnar, P. 1999 (2004): “Homo imitans or homo provocans? The phenomenon of neonatal imitation.” Reddy, V. 1991: “Playing with others’ expectations: teasing and mucking about in the first year.” —— 2000: “Coyness in early infancy.” —— 2001: “Infant clowns: the interpersonal creation of humour in infancy.” —— 2005: “Before the third element: understanding attention to self.” —— 2008: How Infants Know Minds. Ryle, G. 1949: The Concept of Mind. Segall, M.H., Dasen, P.R., Berry, J.W. and Poortinga, Y.H. 1991: Human Behavior in Global Perspective. Stern, D. 1985: The Interpersonal World of the Infant. Trevarthen, C. 1980: “Sharing makes sense: intersubjectivity and the making of an infants meaning.” —— 2001: “Intrinsic motives for companionship in understanding: their origin, development and significance for infant mental health.” —— 2007: “The child’s need to learn a culture.” Wolff, P.H. 1987: The Development of Behavioral States and the Expression of Emotions in Early Infancy: New Proposals for Investigation.

vasudevi reddy

177 Davidson, Donald


Daly, Mary (1928–) US radical lesbian feminist philosopher. Daly’s first major books, The Church and the Second Sex (1968) and Beyond God the Father (1973), criticized misogyny in the Christian churches and argued that men’s spiritual authority over women is a major component of Patriarchy and must be rejected. Her third and most controversial book, Gyn/Ecology (1978), initiated new formal and thematic directions in Daly’s work. Arguing that patriarchy constructs reality primarily through language, Daly deconstructs patriarchal Texts as she seeks a new language with which to realize radical feminist consciousness and spirituality. Gyn/ Ecology, while excitedly praised, was also criticized in an “Open letter” by Audre Lorde as racist in its rhetorical strategies, falsely universalizing, and exclusive. Although Daly never responded to Lorde in print, the subsequent debate among feminists productively clarified arguments for and against radical feminism, Essentialism, and separatism. Academic feminists in the United States rarely cite Daly’s later work, including Pure Lust (1984), Webster’s First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language (1987), and Outercourse (1992), but Daly remains popular and influential among radicals, especially those influenced by French feminism, who value Daly’s increasingly bold experimentation with language. See also Essentialism; Lesbian feminism; Patriarchy.

Reading Daly, Mary 1978: Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism. —— 1984: Pure Lust. —— 1992: Outercourse: The Be-Dazzling Voyage: Containing Recollections from my Logbook of a Radical Feminist Philosopher (Being an account). Lorde, Audre 1980 (1981): “An open letter to Mary Daly.”

glynis carr

dasein Departing from the ordinary German use of the word, the German philosopher Martin Heidegger used it to stand for the mode of being of man, as distinguished from the mode of being of tools and that of things. Dasein is characterized by being-in-the-world, and the latter is characterized by the fundamental “moods” of care and anxiety. Dasein is also essentially temporal, it is oriented towards the future and is being-towards-death. With this concept of Dasein, Heidegger rejects the understanding of the nature of man in traditional metaphysics and religion.

Reading Heidegger, M. 1927 (1980): Being and Time.

j.n. mohanty

Davidson, Donald (1917–2003) One of the most influential of contemporary American

de Man, Paul

178 philosophers, Davidson is best known for his work in the theory of meaning. The key problem here is the “creativity” of language, the ability of speakers to understand a potential infinity of sentences on the basis of a finite stock of words and constructions. Davidson takes his cue from the logician Tarski, who showed how to devise a semantics for an artificial language, enabling the determination of the truth conditions for each of the language’s sentences. In “Truth and meaning” (Davidson, 1984b, Essay 2), Davidson indicates how this may be done for natural languages and, crucially, claims that such a theory of truth is also a theory of meaning. Roughly, to understand a language is to grasp how its elements contribute to the truth conditions of the sentences in which they occur. This approach has interesting results for Cultural and Critical theory. First, it rules out any cultural relativism according to which peoples differ radically as to how the world is. This is because translation of a foreign language presupposes not only our ability to recognize the conditions under which its speakers hold their sentences to be true, but also the “charitable” assumption that they succeed, by and large, in holding to be true what actually is (by our own lights) true (Davidson, 1984b, Essay 9). Second, because the meaning (that is, truth-conditions) of a sentence is independent of individual uses of it, there is no such thing as non-literal meaning, since metaphors etc. are phenomena of use. A metaphorical utterance of “X” differs from a literal one, not in meaning, but in its aim of, say, evoking images (Davidson, 1984b, Essay 17). Recently (“A nice derangement of epitaphs,” in LePore, 1986) Davidson has rejected the common assumption that communication requires shared conventions among speakers. It proceeds, rather, by speakers making ad hoc adjustments in their individual theories of meaning so as to match them temporarily and to the degree required by the particular verbal exchange. See also Language theories; Metaphor and metonymy.

Reading Davidson, Donald 1980: Essays on Actions and Events. —— 1984b: Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation. LePore, Ernest, ed. 1986: Truth and Interpretation: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson.

Ramberg, Bjorn T. 1989: Donald Davidson’s Philosophy of Language: An Introduction.

david e. cooper

de Man, Paul (1919–83) American deconstructionist. Born in Antwerp, de Man was educated in Belgian universities in the years leading up to the Nazi occupation. He began his writing career in an anti-Nazi journal, Les Cahiers du Libre Examen, which he edited for a short while. Unable to escape into France during the Belgian occupation, de Man obtained a job through the offices of his uncle, Hendrik de Man, in a French journal, Le Soir. He also wrote at this time for the Flemish journal Het Vlaamsche Land. De Man’s pieces in these journals were discovered after his death by the Belgian scholar Ortwin de Graef. At least some of the pieces were deemed to be antisemitic even by de Man’s followers. An essay singled out for attention is entitled “Jews in contemporary literature” (1941), where de Man focused on the contribution of Jews to the European intellectual tradition. De Man suggested that the isolation of the Jewish race from the European intellectual mainstream would not adveresly affect European culture. Though this may be charitably understood as staving off vulgar antisemitism, the matter gets more complicated when de Man suggests that Jews could be resettled in an “island colony.” It should, however, be stated in de Man’s defence that he quit his job with Le Soir in late 1942 when the true extent of the Nazi persecution of Belgian Jews began to come to light. De Man’s early writings can be retrospectively understood as offering us a valuable clue to his lifelong suspicion of aesthetic Ideology and his insistence on the ethical necessity of its Deconstruction. De Man was not the only European intellectual to be bewitched by the lure of the nationalist aesthetic, as is evident from the history of modernism. The disenchantment with Liberal democracy was a widespread problem in Europe during the interwar years. The call for decisive action over endless bouts of rationalism in political theory afflicted the political climate with an intensity that is difficult for a postwar intelligentsia to appreciate. In the choice between cosmopolitanism and nationalism, the latter seemed to offer something more concrete than the

179 Man became the most influential literary theorist in America. His best-known books, Blindness and Insight (1971) and Allegories of Reading (1979), were fruits of that period. De Man’s influence over a whole generation of theorists resulted from a rare combination of pedagogical, philological, and philosophical skills. His originality lay in discovering the “method” of reading that was to shake up academia under the rubric “deconstruction” independently of the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida. De Man is also credited by the literary historian Frank Lentricchia with having anticipated the central theoretical insights of Harold Bloom, Geoffrey Hartman, and J. Hillis Miller. De Man’s tenure as the eminence grise of deconstruction at Yale also saw the advent of Derrida’s annual summer sessions there in the 1970s. Since the success of the Yale “school” is often diagnosed as a shrewd mixture of American New Criticism with continental esoterica, it will be important to ask what exactly de Man borrowed from the New Critics. The primary virtue of the New Critics was a willingness to read closely without being distracted by grandiose schemes of thought. The promotion of its favourite Tropes, Irony and Paradox, was at least based on a willingness to read the Text “literally.” But this does not mean that de Man was willing to buy all the theoretical claims of the new criticism. An important exception was the question of symbolism. Both romanticism and the New Criticism had bought into the mythical therapeutics of the Symbol. T.S. Eliot had famously referred to the dangers of the “dissociation of sensibility” that resulted from the poet’s inability to find an “objective correlative.” This disjunction between imagination and reason was understood to be the result of a historical rupture, viz., the English Civil War. This historical myth had its political counterpart in the ideology of the Aesthetic. De Man’s problematization of the symbol and its deconstruction into allegory marks a decisive shift in the fortunes of what a political criticism informed by deconstruction might be. The literary equivalent of this is the deconstruction of Metaphor into Metonymy, nature into Culture, etc. It is at this point that de Man’s work resonates with Derrida’s more systematic questioning of the binarization of modes of consciousness in the Western metaphysical tradition.

de Man, Paul

by now empty universal ideals of the Enlightenment. Leading socialists like Hendrik de Man began to believe that National Socialism, by effecting change, might lead to a better alternative than the slow pace of reform in a liberal democracy; hence the temptation to collaborate. The Nazi aestheticization of the nation-state also seemed to offer a solution to the age-old problem of Alienation. Cultural despair gave way to the politics of soil, race, and blood. The Nazis encouraged the belief that European nations could piggyback their way into nationhood on Germany. De Man went along with this idea. He began to write in praise of the German nation and its aesthetic ideals. With this went a devalorization of French literature: whereas the Germanic spirit manifested itself in a penchant for organization, the French were trapped in the endless analysis of the self. De Man also appears to have been a historicist at this time. The Third Reich promoted a teleological vision of history; in de Man this is translated into the question of an unconscious aesthetic determinism as it manifests itself in literary history. Of course, there was not a perfect alignment between his aesthetic and political ideology, but the interimplication of these two theoretical categories was to dominate his later work as a deconstructionist. De Man’s skepticism about the efficacy of political action, in his later career, can then be understood as a response to the naive enchantment and subsequent despair of his early journalistic career. Again and again he would announce programmatically that the problems of language (reading) had made it impossible to attend to the questions of history. The preface to his magnum opus, Allegories of Reading (1979), begins with the famous words: “I began to read Rousseau seriously in preparation for a historical reflection on Romanticism and found myself unable to progress beyond local difficulties of interpretation.” De Man’s interest in the “local difficulties of interpretation” was forged initially by his encounter with the new criticism of Reuben Brower, his mentor at Harvard, where he earned a doctorate in the 1950s. After an early stint at Harvard, de Man went on to teach at Cornell, Zurich, Johns Hopkins, and finally at Yale, where he became, in Frank Lentricchia’s words, the Godfather of the “Yale Mafia.” As the head of the so-called Yale school of deconstruction, de

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180 Reading De Man, Paul 1971 (1989): Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism. —— 1979: Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust. —— 1984: The Rhetoric of Romanticism. Lentricchia, Frank 1980: After the New Criticism. Norris, Christopher 1988: Paul de Man: Deconstruction and the Critique of Aesthetic Ideology. Waters, Lindsay and Godzich, Wlad, eds 1989: Reading De Man Reading.

shiva kumar srinivasan

death of author See Author, death of

decentered structure A category introduced by Althusser to distinguish between the Marxist and Hegelian concepts of totality (see Marxism and Hegelianism). According to him, the Hegelian totality was an “expressive totality,” whose parts were so many appearances of an original essence which is the demiurge of history. Transposed to historical Materialism, this conception generated an economic Essentialism which abolished the Relative autonomy and “specific effectivity” of the superstructural levels of the Social formation. By contrast, the Marxist concept of totality was a complex one, to which neither “expressive” nor “mechanical” models did justice. The Marxist whole was inseparable from the parts or elements of which it was constituted. It was characterized by irreducible states of Overdetermination, since each social practice or contradiction formed the “conditions of existence” of the others. Accordingly, it contained no essence to be expressed, or center to be reflected: it was a “decentered structure.” Nevertheless, it was a “structure in dominance,” unified by a dominant structure and by economic “determination in the last instance.” In his Lacanian-influenced work on Ideology, Althusser likewise maintained that the human subject was “decentered,” for it was “constituted by a structure which has no ‘center’ either, except in the imaginary misrecognition of the ‘ego’ ” (1964, pp. 170–1).

Reading Althusser, L. 1964 (1971): “Freud and Lacan.” —— and Balibar, E. 1968 (1990): Reading Capital.

Geras, N. 1972 (1986): “Althusser’s Marxism: an account and assessment.”

gregory elliott


See Encoding/decoding

deconstruction School of philosophy and literary criticism forged in the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida and the Belgian/North American literary critic Paul De Man. Deconstruction can perhaps best be described as a theory of reading which aims to undermine the logic of opposition within Texts (see Binary opposition). For Derrida this requires a scrutiny of the essential distinctions and conceptual orderings which have been constructed by the dominant tradition of Western philosophy. In a series of engagements with thinkers as diverse as Plato, Hegel, Rousseau, Kant, Husserl, Austin, and Lévi-strauss, Derrida adopts a strategy of reading which questions the assumptions and limitations of textual meaning by revealing how the polarities and certainties a text has proposed have actually been constructed through a series of preferences and repressions which have privileged certain ideas, values, and arguments above others. Derrida’s point is that what has been presented as a dichotomy in Western thought, such as man/woman, is in fact merely a difference which has been manipulated into a hierarchy. However, contrary to some literary and postmodern appropriations of his writings, Derrida’s thought does not aim at the dissolution of analytic distinctions altogether, nor is he concerned with a simple reversal of hierarchical oppositions. As Derrida and some of his more subtle acolytes are well aware, positing difference against identity succeeds only in falling back within the very logic of binary opposition their deconstructive enterprise tries to resist. Instead Derrida works to displace and reinscribe concepts into larger and more encompassing contexts. His typical practice includes applying the meaning and potential of a concept against the limits within which it has been constructed. Hence his questioning of the “structurality of Structure,” the cause of the cause, or the context of the context attempts to

181 An immanent expressive consciousness would remain imprisoned in the subject’s head without the conditional intervention of indicative signs. The very necessity of such an intervention renders consciousness nonself-identical, opening it out into the realm of the social, historical, and conventional. By a curious reversal of logic, Derrida shows how what has been relegated to a secondary status in Husserl’s argument (indicative signs) actually conditions any conscious expression. Derrida’s critique aims not at a reversal of the opposition, but rather an articulation of the Paradoxes, Ambiguities, and Contradictions which destabilize the initial opposition. So, in the case of Husserl, Derrida exposes how what has been posited as the source of meaning (expressive consciousness) remains dependent on, and therefore affected by, what has been constructed as of secondary importance, therefore deconstructing the initial opposition. Deconstruction not only scrutinizes the primary texts of Western culture, it also reflects on the readings and interpretations which have produced the status of these dominant works. Deconstruction is therefore a reflection on the act of reading, examining how interpretations have been produced, and what these interpretations have marginalized, presupposed, or ignored. Derrida’s readings require a meticulous attention to textual evidence and logical contradiction where the movement of writing may subvert the interpreter’s quest for a unified meaning. This search for incoherences and points of resistance marks Derrida’s poststructuralist break with the unifying and systematizing methodologies of theoretical Structuralism. Derrida’s critique of conceptual oppositions is often facilitated by his focus on what has been relegated to the margins of a text’s argument. His typical practice often demonstrates how footnotes, metaphors, elisions, and other details an author has deemed to be of little importance to the task at hand, actually condition the explicit argument of a text. It is this always implicit subtext which Derrida attempts to reveal as a determining force, a textual unconscious which can always be read against the grain of what a text intends to say. Importantly, Derrida’s critique of intentionality does not simply abandon it in favor of a limitless textual freeplay of interpretation. Rather, it explores the structural constraints


prise open the metaphysical closures of Western philosophy. At its best, Derridean deconstruction lays bare the logic, presuppositions, and structures which constitute the dominant tradition of Western thought. As Barbara Johnson observes, deconstruction is a form of immanent critique which situates itself inside a text in order to tease out the “Warring forces of signification within the text” (Johnson, 1984, p. 5). Deconstructive criticism does not claim to resolve such textual conflicts and contradictions in some ideal Hegelian synthesis. Rather, it believes there to be something intrinsic to the structure of language (for Derrida – writing) which complicates any attempted textual unity. Derrida’s terms “differance” and “dissemination” articulate both the possibility and the impossibility of pinning down a coherent, unproblematic meaning of a text (see Writing). Derrida’s modified concept of writing functions as a metaphor for the absence of both a unitary subject and a stable referent in any text, whether spoken or written. Such absences (he claims) are the unavoidable consequence of using Signs to make and communicate meaning. The intervention of the linguistic sign divides the subject and the referent from themselves, and it is these divisions and absences which open up the possibility of textual misinterpretations and misunderstandings. It is the search for these systematic contradictions and uncontrollable ambiguities in meaning which perhaps best characterizes deconstructive criticism. Derrida’s deconstructionist method entails highlighting a pair of oppositions with a text and then demonstrating, via a close attention to the logical contradictions, repressions, and limitations of the argument, how the opposition ceases to hold up under analytic critique. For example, in Speech and Phenomena (1967c) Derrida deconstructs the “essential distinction” Husserl makes between expressive and indicative signs. Derrida places under scrutiny the possibility of maintaining a pure realm of expressive signs which transmit the voice of consciousness independently of their articulation in an indicative language. This quest for an unmediated expressive consciousness breaks down (Derrida maintains) at those points where Husserl must recognize the necessity of language and the indicative as being inseparable from the very possibility of any expression.


182 which always render explicitly stated intentions liable to deconstruction. Such a deconstruction often proceeds by illustrating how authorial arguments undermine themselves by falling victim to the very ideologies or methodological procedures they have diagnosed as deficient or outdated in other theorists’ work, or by demonstrating how the metaphysical aspects of a thinker’s philosophy may actually be undone by some of his most radical theoretical notions. This point is evident in Derrida’s reading of Saussure in Of Grammatology (1967a) where Derrida reveals how Saussure’s most radical principles (the arbitrariness of the Sign and meaning through difference) undo his metaphysical belief in the existence of a “natural bond” between spoken words and true meaning. What Derrida seeks to elucidate in his readings of Western philosophy is the necessary “logic of supplementarity” which is inscribed in every pretence towards clear-cut conceptual distinctions. For Derrida, there is always something which eludes the grasp of conceptual self-identity. There is a necessary lack present in every identifying moment, a lack which is inherent in the very Structure of language which must be used to define and articulate concepts. Importantly, the supplement is not simply the result of an error or slip on the part of the author. Rather, it is something systematic which can be most easily identified in the texts of those thinkers who are most rigorous in their conceptual work. In a manner strikingly similar to the strategy of Negative dialectics developed by the German philosopher Theodor Adorno, Derrida attempts to include within thought all that has been considered heterogeneous to it. The supplement is always there as the nonidentity within identity which undermines the distinction between the two. Like Adorno’s, Derrida’s thought is anti-foundationalist in its belief that any first principle, or privileged starting point for a coherent philosophical system, is already split by the differential and supplementary structure of language (see Saussure). To understand concepts, origins, and centers as “always already” different from themselves in their very inception in language is to question the whole practice of constructing stable identities between terms. Once it is acknowledged that concepts do not exist in their own solitary space with a clear,

unambiguous, unitary meaning attached to them, any opposition based on identity becomes difficult to sustain. Deconstruction elucidates both the differences within and the differences between supposedly stable identities. Deconstruction has had an impact on numerous disciplines within cultural criticism, the humanities, and the social sciences. In sociology, Anthony Giddens has integrated Derrida’s insights into a theory of structuration which attempts to articulate the at once constraining and enabling dialectic of structure and Subject, while in historical scholarship New Historicists and cultural materialists have utilized deconstructive arguments in order to uncouple classical oppositions between cause and effect, text and context, and primary and secondary sources. Despite Derrida’s academic training in philosophy, his writings have exerted their greatest influence in literature departments, particularly in the United States, where critics such as J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman, and Allan Bloom have assimilated Derrida’s insights in order to break with many of the traditional assumptions of literary criticism. Perhaps the most articulate of the North American deconstructors was Paul de Man. For de Man, deconstruction required a thorough reading of a text’s rhetorical constitution. De Man’s usual deconstructive maneuvers focus on those moments in a text where the logic of an argument becomes complicated and undermined by the figural language of the text. For de Man this conflict of meaning between the literal and the figural is a persistent occurrence in the texts of Western philosophy. His readings of the central texts of Western Culture demonstrate how philosophy cannot escape the dimension of figural language, no matter how far it presses its claims to communicate clear and distinct conceptual meanings. De Man maintains that the task of theory (that is, deconstruction) is not to impose itself upon a text but rather to follow through the literal and figural textual logic in order to spot the places where a text self-deconstructs and resists theoretical reduction, by slipping away from its own stated intentions as well as the critic’s best attempts to explain it. For a de Manian there is something inevitable about a text’s deconstruction and it is the responsibility of the astute critic to elucidate these moments.

183 political potential of deconstruction. Marxists, feminists, and postcolonial critics such as Michael Ryan (1982), Barbara Johnson (1990), and Gayatri Spivak (1994) have all harnessed deconstructive methods to challenge many of the ideological and institutional structures of Western culture. To affirm a politics of deconstruction would perhaps be premature, but its potential may reside in its persistent questioning of the ideologies, dogmatisms, and hierarchies of existing political thought. This impulse may not spark a revolution, but it might ensure a democratic vigilance towards postrevolutionary complacencies. See also De Man, Paul; Derrida, Jacques; Poststructuralism.

Reading Culler, J. 1982: On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism. De Man, P. 1979: Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, Proust. —— 1986: The Resistance to Theory. Derrida, J. 1967a (1976): Of Grammatology. —— 1967c (1973): Speech and Phenomena and Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of Signs. —— 1972 (1982): Margins of Philosophy. Hartman, G., ed. 1979: Deconstruction and Criticism. —— 1981: Saving the Text: Literature/Derrida/ Philosophy. Johnson, B. 1984: The Critical Difference: Essays in the Contemporary Rhetoric of Reading. —— 1990: A World of Difference. Norris, C. 1989: Deconstruction and the Interests of Theory. —— 1991: Deconstruction: Theory and Practice. Ryan, M. 1982: Marxism and Deconstruction: A Critical Articulation. Spivak, G. 1994: Outside in the Teaching Machine.

paul norcross

defamiliarization (also “baring the device”) A term used mainly by formalist literary critics, among them Viktor Shklovski, Roman Jakobson, and other members of the Soviet and Czech formalist circles of the 1920s and 1930s. In their view the chief function of poetic language was to defamiliarize our normal (everyday or prosaic) modes of perception. This it achieved by deploying a wide range of linguistically “deviant” devices – Metaphor and metonymy, Symbolism, rhyme, rhythm, meter, complex patternings of sound and sense – in order to


The direct challenge posed to the philosophical tradition by deconstructionists such as de Man and Derrida has led to many Anglo-American philosophers adopting a position of cautionary skepticism toward the value of deconstruction’s claims. Clearly, any theory which appears so radically to challenge many of the cherished beliefs of philosophers will be treated with due caution. However, the reaction of many philosophers to the project of deconstruction has often been based on summary readings of Derrida (for example, Habermas) or, even worse, the rhetoric of some of Derrida’s less philosophically responsible literary acolytes. The important point to grasp is that deconstruction, at least that form of critique practiced by Derrida and de Man, aims less to turn the tables on philosophy, by privileging rhetoric above reason or fiction above truth, and more to developing a philosophically accountable theory of the workings of rhetoric, Metaphor, and language. As Derrida explains in his essay “White mythology,” which appears in his book Margins of Philosophy (1972b), concepts may indeed be regarded as sublimated metaphors, lacking any secure referential gound in their functioning as substitutes for other words; however, at the same time the notion of metaphor itself can only be understood and developed by the resources of philosophy which conceptualizes metaphor, rhetoric, and figuration. Hence Derrida’s point is not that deconstruction enables a reversal of the opposition between philosophy and literature, concepts and metaphors, but rather it allows a rethinking of the conditions of possibility of both philosophy and literature, and how the two may in fact be articulated together. Deconstruction’s strongest claim is that the two must be thought together if theorists are to produce the most rigorous account of both philosophy and literature. The alleged political radicalism of deconstruction has been challenged by Marxist critics (see Marxism). Pointing to deconstruction’s lack of explicit political commitment and its neglect of social and economic reference, these critics, Terry Eagleton (1981) and Peter Dews (1987) most prominent among them, argue that undermining political and institutional antagonisms cannot be reduced to an exposé of textual conflicts. Other critics have been less keen to close off the


184 focus our attention more sharply on those devices themselves and also on the new-found possibilities of experience which they serve to evoke. The idea is captured most precisely in the Russian word ostranenie (or “making strange”). Shelley had advanced a similar claim when he spoke of Poetry’s power to create the world anew by stripping away the “veil of familiarity” – the routine, automatized habits of response – which exert such a deadening effect upon our minds and sensibilities. For Schklovski this idea had ethical as well as aesthetic or literary implications. The familiar was that which consumed and destroyed all our most vital experiences, from the reading of poems and novels to our food, clothing, friendships, marriages, political involvements, and indeed the very sense of ourselves – and others – as living particulars not to be subsumed under general (custom-made) categories. Poetry could help to resist this process by “baring the device,” that is to say, through its capacity to Foreground and renovate the resources of a language worn smooth by conventional usage. There is a parallel here with the Alienation effect (Verfremdungseffekt) which the dramatist Bertolt Brecht proposed as a means of jolting theater audiences out of their passive, complacent, or “bourgeois” habits of mind. It also finds a close – if less fashionable – analogue in the work of an overtly moralizing critic like F.R. Leavis. For in his essays on poetry – especially on Shakespeare, Donne, and Keats – Leavis constantly stresses the link between language in its “creative–exploratory” aspect and those modes of heightened or revivified perception that constitute an adequate (“mature” and “sensitive”) response. That Leavis rejected literary theory as a pernicious distraction from the critic’s proper business may offer one clue as to why some theorists – Paul de Man among them – for their part regard this whole way of thinking as a species of naïve mimetic delusion or wholesale “aesthetic ideology.” See also Formalism.

Reading Bann, Stephen, and Bowlt, John E., eds 1973: Russian Formalism. Lemon, Lee T., and Reis, Marion J., eds 1965: Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays.

Matejka, Ladislav, and Pomorska, Krystyna, eds 1980: Readings in Russian Poetics: Formalist and Structuralist Views.

christopher norris

deictics See Shifters/deictics

Deleuze, Gilles (1925–95) and Guattari, Félix (1936–92) French philosopher and French psychoanalyst respectively. Much of modern European thought, especially in France since the 1939–45 war, has actively been in search of a means to bring philosophy and psychoanalysis – particularly Marx and Freud – into fruitful contact with each other. The extraordinary partnership of Deleuze and Guattari had been more successful than any other such attempt to achieve this contact. In the final book they wrote together – What is Philosophy? (1991) – they arrived at an elegant summary of their common project, which had been previously launched in The Anti-Oedipus (1972). The question asked in the title of their last book is promptly answered. Philosophy, they say, is “the art of forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts” (Deleuze and Guattari, 1991 (1994), p. 2). Realizing, however, the incompleteness of this answer, they proceed to supply an agent who forms, invents, and fabricates. Philosophy requires “conceptual personae” who are friends. Here the gap that Aristotle opened up between himself and Plato, the divide he marked between truth and friendship, is brought to closure. “With the creation of philosophy, the Greeks violently force the friend into a relationship that is no longer a relationship with an other but one with an Entity” (p. 3). Although they do not name this an Aristotelian violence, Deleuze and Guattari quickly move to subdue it and to reaffirm friendship and agency. While acknowledging that two friends inevitably assume positions of “claimant and rival,” they proceed, nevertheless, to affirm that “the philosopher is the concept’s friend” in the sense that he is the “potentiality of the concept.” They thus want to embrace Nietzsche’s claim that concepts do not wait, like heavenly bodies, but they must be invented with “their creator’s signature.” What should not be missed here, however, is their unique combination of

185 Reading


Derrida, Jacques (1930–2004) French philosopher. Educated at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, Derrida is best known in the anglophone world for forging the critical practice of Deconstruction. His earliest philosophical influences came from the tradition of Phenomenology as represented by Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger, with a book-length introduction to Husserl’s Origin of Geometry (1962) marking Derrida’s first published work. Derrida’s broad defense of Husserlian phenomenology in his earliest writing placed him outside the dominant theoretical Structuralism which hegemonized French intellectual Culture during the 1960s. However, the first glimmerings of Derrida’s deconstructive method and structuralist sympathies, later to accord him widespread acclaim, are evident in his reading of Husserl’s philosophical idealism. Derrida’s critique of Husserl demonstrates how any notion of an immanent consciousness, able to glean an objective knowledge of ideal objects, breaks down at those points in Husserl’s argument where language and Writing are recognized as unavoidable means of communication and knowledge. The ideal of a pure and immanent perception becomes problematized when the tools of such a consciousness must come from a social, historical, and conventional language produced independently of both the object and the Subject. The intervention of the structural sign as a necessary medium of representation, dividing and deferring the possibility of a pure self-consciousness, is a persistent theme in Derrida’s readings of the dominant tradition in Western philosophy. Critical attention to Derrida’s work increased during the mid-1960s, particularly in the United States, where in 1966 Derrida delivered his seminal paper, “Structure, sign and play in the discourse of the human sciences,” at Johns Hopkins University (later to be published in Writing and

Deleuze, Gilles, and Guattari, Félix 1991 (1994): What is Philosophy? Descombes, Vincent 1979 (1980): Modern French Philosophy. Hardt, Michael 1993: Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy.

michael payne

Della Volpe, Galvano (1895–1968) Marxist theorist. Included in the empirical or neo-Kantian school of Western Marxism, Della Volpe’s central aim is to rescue Marxism from the humanists, such as Lukács and Korsch, who reject the materialism of the natural sciences, and to reestablish Marxism as a materialist sociology. In his Text Logic as a Positive Science (1950), Della Volpe draws out the positivist themes inherent in Marxism, as he discusses Marx’s revision of the circle of the Hegelian dialectic from Abstract– Concrete–Abstract (A–C–A) to Concrete– Abstract–Concrete (C–A–C), or the circle of materialist epistemology. What has become known as the Della Volpean reconstruction is an attempt to prove the scientificity of Marxism. Della Volpe argues that the reconstruction of the Hegelian dialectic effects a transition from “a priori assertions to experimental forecasts” (Della Volpe, 1980, p. 198). Critics of the Della Volpean school, most notably one of the theorist’s own pupils Lucio Colletti, argue that his hypernaturalistic approach to Marx ignores the themes of Reification and Alienation. Though Della Volpe joined the Italian Communist Party (PCI) relatively late in 1944, he exercised a formative influence on an emerging group of theorists which included – apart from Coletti – Pietranera, Rossi, and Cerroni, who pursued the scientific and deterministic implications of his work in analyzing Italian society.

Anderson, P. 1976 (1989): Considerations on Western Marxism. Jay, M. 1984a: Marxism and Totality.

mary ellen bray

denotation See Connotation/denotation

Derrida, Jacques

a rigorous conceptual sense with a specifically human grounding for philosophy. That is likely to remain the distinctive feature of their collaboration, and their final book will doubtless establish itself as one of the most elegant answers to philosophy’s most persistent question. Deleuze has also written extensively, not only on the major Texts of philosophy, but also on Film studies.

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186 Difference (1967b)). The occasion, a conference celebrating structuralism, saw Derrida scrutinizing the very history and theoretical constitution of the concept of structure via a detailed exposé of the presuppositions and limitations of Lévistrauss’s structural anthropology. Focusing on the metaphorical construction of the notion of structure and its privileging of central explanatory terms, Derrida sought to provoke a questioning of the “structurality of structure”: a reflection on the constructedness of what have been presumed in structuralist Discourse as unconditioned centers and origins which supposedly provide grounds for objective accounts of diverse phenomena. These foundations (Derrida claims) are assumed to have a fixed meaning, a “transcendental signified,” which functions as an unmovable limit on the “play” of structure, thereby closing off the possibilities of structural instability and change. Derrida’s argument did not aim to transcend structuralism. Rather, it turned structuralist arguments against their own limits and presuppositions. His acute observation that the supposition of stable structures depends on the privileging of a fixed center or given origin, posited independently of structural determination, enabled him to become more rigorously structuralist than the structuralists themselves. The poststructuralist moment Derrida’s arguments were supposed to initiate refers less to a break with structuralism and more to an expansion of structuralism to its logical self-undermining conclusions (see Poststructuralism). By drawing predominantly on the resources of structural linguistics (see Saussure), Derrida attempted to show how any ground for a structuralist science is “always already” divided from itself via its constitution in the differential structure of language. First principles and master concepts (on this account) tend less to be naturally important explanatory tools and more to be arbitrary constructs designed to privilege a certain way of thinking and reasoning above other possibilities. The year 1967 was to prove the most important in terms of Derrida’s publishing and reception history. Three major books: Writing and Difference, Speech and Phenomena, and Of Grammatology witnessed Derrida following Nietzsche and Heidegger in elaborating a critique of “Western

metaphysics.” Western thought, Derrida claimed, had been structured in terms of hierarchical oppositions where one of the terms had been given a qualitative and/or temporal priority over a supposedly derivative, inferior, or undesirable Other (see Binary opposition). For Derrida such dichotomies tend to privilege identity, immediacy, and presence over difference, deferral, and absence. Many of Derrida’s encounters with the tradition of Western thought attempt to reveal and undermine what he sees as the fundamental binarism which betrays this “Western metaphysics of presence,” that of speech over writing. Western philosophy from Plato onwards (Derrida says) has classed writing as a parasitic and imperfect representation of the pure ideas contained in the living voice of speech. This hierarchy, he argues, is produced by a logocentric culture which privileges the thinking, speaking subject who knows his own mind, says what he means, and means what he says. In opposition, Derrida’s critique attempts to subvert the belief in the “voice of consciousness” – that is speech seemingly dependent on a subject’s pure spontaneity of thought; an expression of ideas freely independent and undetermined by any supplementary structures, Codes, and conventions taken from the world outside the mind. In opposition to this, Derrida proposes that speech is in fact a form of writing, where the speaker’s meanings and intentions are always deferred. The very structural possibility of spoken words being transcribed into a written form reveals speech to have the same general characteristics as writing, and the consequence of this recognition (Derrida maintains) is that speech should not be regarded as an unambiguous transmission of clear and intended meaning from person to person, but must instead be studied as a form of writing, a dissemination, where meaning is continually being reinscribed and reinterpeted in different contexts. By writing, Derrida does not mean merely the inscriptional mark of the signifier; rather he means the system of spatial distinctions and temporal deferrals which are inscribed in any system of Signs. Derrida destabilizes the dichotomy between speech and writing with his notion of a general or “arche-writing,” at once reversing the opposition and reassessing the respective elements by

187 which can then be remedied. It is rather that there is something structural in the very nature of writing which necessitates contradiction and interdependence. It is this structural logic which Derrida attempts to articulate. By seizing on authorial repressions, footnotes, and other seemingly incidental details, often confined to the margins of a text, Derrida tries to demonstrate by a reversal of traditional logic how what has been posited as central, primary, or originary remains affected by, and therefore dependent upon, what has been constructed as secondary, marginal, or derivative. What Derrida calls Aporias are those moments where oppositions are held in mutual suspension, neither term of which can be granted structuring primacy or qualitative superiority. Derridean logic therefore replaces the logic of either/or with a logic of both/and (and/or) neither/nor. Hence on the speculative question of which came first at the origin of language, the social structure or the individual utterance, the answer is both and neither, an indeterminancy which has led to some criticisms of Derrida from the followers of the tradition of analytic philosophy, who point to his dissolution of conceptual distinctions into a general field of textuality and indeterminancy. This is a criticism invited by many postmodern appropriations of Derrida’s work (see Postmodernism), but a criticism less powerful when faced with the analytic power of many of Derrida’s own most analytically rigorous essays (for example, in his volume Margins of Philosophy, 1972b). Contrary to many appropriations of his work, Derrida maintains a complex notion of authorial intentionality, a commitment particularly evident in his readings of Saussure, Rousseau, Foucault, and Austin. Derrida regularly shows how authorial intent monitors and is modified by structural constraints. Indeed, his readings often register their effect by contrasting the intentions of an author with what he is constrained to mean. Derrida’s typical use of the notion of intentionality focuses on what an author may have considered to be an irrelevant or insignificant detail; or a theoretical model an author has claimed to transcend; and then he shows how the author remains imprisoned within the very conceptual structures he seeks to undermine or dispense with. As Derrida comments in his critique of Foucault’s history of unreason: how can a history

Derrida, Jacques

placing the identities given them by metaphysical discourse into question. Similarly, Derrida’s deconstruction of Austin’s speech-act theory proceeds by highlighting a pair of oppositions, in this case between serious and nonserious Speech acts, and then demonstrating how the distinctions Austin constructs fail to stand up to close textual scrutiny. The features Austin assigns to supposedly parasitic, nonserious speech acts (such as citations and textual graftings) also permeate so-called “serious” speech acts, which can only function owing to the repetition inscribed in every meaningful sign. Derrida’s deconstruction of the opposition entails at once a reversal and displacement of its component parts under a general covering concept, this time a “general citationality.” Any representation, any Signifying element, whether phonic or graphic, must presuppose a structure of repetition, what Derrida calls “iterability,” which undermines any pretence towards self-present and context-free meaning. The very possibility of a word being repeated and interpreted in a potentially infinite range of situations and contexts undermines its metaphysical claims to self-identity. However, in his reading of Austin, Derrida is not merely replacing a metaphysics of the sign with a metaphysics of context. The potential limitlessness of context (Derrida claims) and the impossibility of securing an immanent, selfpresent context closes off the possibility of some pure contextual determination of meaning that is not always already rein-scribed in a different context. What results in Derrida’s writing is a radical contextualization and historicization of meaning which attempts to endlessly defer any final suppression of the process of reinscription and recontextualization. For Derrida there is always a “logic of the supplement” inscribed in any pretense toward clear conceptual identity. There is always something which escapes and subverts the logic of binary opposition and it is these excesses and resistances which Derrida turns against metaphysical thinking. By immersing himself within the very structure of a text’s argument, Derrida attempts an immanent critique which would expose its Contradictions, limitations, and presuppositions. It is not that a text can be deconstructed because of a weakness or flaw in a thinker’s argument,

Derrida, Jacques

188 of madness be written “from within the very language of classical reason itself, utilizing the concepts that were the historical instruments of the capture of madness” (Writing and Difference, 1967b (1978) p. 34)? Derrida himself accepts the impossibility of completely escaping metaphysics. His prose often parades the sweat and strain which comes from the recognition that in order to subvert metaphysics he must occupy its very intellectual constraints. Derrida’s solution to this dilemma takes the form of his strategic deployment of double-edged concepts which unhinge the logic of binary opposition. A supplement can be both an addition and a substitute; a pharmacon both poison and cure; and hymen both consummation and virginity. Such a doubleness is the characteristic feature of Derrida’s thought and serves in differing contexts as a substitution for the double movement of writing (differance) as at once the condition of possibility and impossibility of meaning. The reception of Derrida’s work has been a site of conflict and controversy, with philosophers tending to dismiss his work with all the fervor with which literary critics have embraced it. Derrida’s biggest institutional impact has perhaps been in North American literature departments. Critics such as Geoffrey Hartman, J. Hillis Miller, and Allan Bloom have assimilated and developed Derrida’s insights in all manner of creative ways in order to subvert the traditional assumptions of Literary criticism. Such a reception of Derrida’s work among literary acolytes has prompted the suspicions of Enlightenment philosophers, for example, Jürgen Habermas (1987), who dismisses Derrida’s thought (on the basis of an inadequate acquaintance with his work) as a species of irrationalist postmodern theorizing. However, postmodern thinkers like Richard Rorty (1982) have heralded Derrida as a postphilosophical literary stylist, a latter-day sophist, who is at his best when he reveals philosophy as little more than a collage of Metaphors, rhetorical devices, and unanchored language games. Derrida, Rorty claims, undermines the pretensions of philosophy by revealing it for what it is: simply a form of Writing with no privileged access to meaning and truth. Such postmodern readings of Derrida are encouraged on the evidence of some of his

more exuberant texts, such as Glas (1974), where Derrida puns and wordplays his ways between the boundaries of philosophy and literature as represented by Hegel and Genet in juxtaposed columns of print. Similarly Derrida’s response to Searle in “Limited Inc abc” (1977) accords little respect to analytic distinctions as well as the copyright laws, as he employs a variety of textual graftings in order to turn Searle’s text inside out. However, other commentators have defended Derrida’s philosophical merits with a particular stress on his earlier work as providing the “hard labor” of his philosophical enterprise. These critics, Christopher Norris (1987) and Radolphe Gasche (1986) most prominent among them, maintain that Derrida’s work pays the utmost attention to matters of argumentative detail and philosophical accountability, often producing readings that are more philosophically rigorous than much analytic philosophy. In an attempt to wrest Derrida’s work away from a neoNietzschean postmodern skepticism, these critics argue that Derrida’s style of thought can best be situated within the broad tradition of postKantian critical reason. Certainly the appearance of Derrida’s longdeferred book-length engagement with the Marxist tradition, Spectres of Marx (1994) seemed to confirm the analysis of the likes of Norris. This book finds Derrida going clean against the grain of much of the postmodernist wisdom which proclaims the demise of Marxism as an intellectual and political activity. Arguing strongly against modern variations of the “end of history” and “end of Marxism” theme, and acknowledging his own intellectual debt to the Marxist problematic, Derrida calls for the continual reading and rereading of the texts of Marxism, and the urgent contemporaneity of Marxism as a political practice. This work underlines what is perhaps Derrida’s greatest achievement: his persistent questioning and rethinking of what have become taken-forgranted intellectual complacencies. See also Deconstruction; Poststructuralism; Structuralism.

Reading Derrida, J. 1962 (1978): Edmund Husserl’s “Origin of Geometry:” An Introduction. —— 1967a (1976): Of Grammatology.

189 power determinate is its location within a peculiar complex of circumstances; they also allow for some autonomy and influence of superstructural elements themselves.

Reading Althusser, L. 1965b (1970): For Marx. Engels, F. 1968: “Letter to J. Bloch.”

m.a.r. habib

paul norcross diachrony See Synchrony/diachrony determinacy First used by the scientist Hermann von Helmholtz, the term “determinacy” or “determinateness” has a broad application. The condition of being determinate can imply a certain constraint upon contingency, effected by assigning definite qualities to an entity or process. Hegel, for example, distinguishes between “being,” which is abstract, and “determinate being,” which possesses qualities. But, in Marxist theory and sociology, “determinacy” (more usually “determinateness”) has often been linked with a prior process of determination (not to be confused with predetermination). Understood in this sense, determinateness has figured centrally in the works of structuralist Marxists such as Althusser, who have stressed the “scientific” and deterministic thrust of Marx’s Canon rather than the elements which emphasize human agency in historical transformation. Althusser uses the concept of Overdetermination (taken over from Freud) to express the specificity of the Marxist notion of Contradiction and in particular its divergence from Hegel’s dialectic. Whereas Hegel’s formulation of Contradiction as the causal site of historical change is “simple,” embodying a process of cumulative internalization of previous forms of consciousness and history, Marx’s notion of contradiction is “overdetermined”: it is determined not uniformly but by a variety of levels and instances of the Social formation it animates. Althusser’s views have generated much debate, made possible by the dialectical and flexible approach of Marx and Engels themselves to the degree of determinacy possible in historical predictability and inevitability. While they stress the ultimately determinative power of the economic substructure, they suggest that what makes this

dialectics, negative See Negative dialectics

diaspora A term traditionally associated with the Jewish exile, but now used in Cultural theory to cover a range of territorial displacements, either forced, such as indenture and slavery, or voluntary emigration. Recent formulations have stressed not only the complex ties of memory, nostalgia, and politics that bind the exile to an original homeland, but also sought to illuminate the lateral axes that link diasporic communities across national boundaries with the multiple other communities of the dispersed population. Paul Gilroy’s (1993) image of the “Black Atlantic,” for instance, evokes an imagined geography of the African diaspora, a space not reducible to an original source, but where divergent local experiences of widely dispersed communities interact with shared histories of crossing, migration, exile, travel, and exploration, spawning hybrid Cultures. Much of the current work on borders, transnational networks, and global public culture draws on this concept of the diaspora to understand the spectrum of displacements, revivals, and reconfigurations of identities and traditions that characterize the contemporary global cultural landscape. See also Hall, Stuart; Hybridity.

Reading Appadurai, Arjun 1990: “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.” Gilroy, Paul 1993: The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Hall, Stuart 1990: “Cultural identity and diaspora.”

radhika subramaniam


—— 1967b (1978): Writing and Difference. —— 1967c (1973): “Speech and Phenomena” and Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of Signs. —— 1972a (1981): Positions. —— 1972b (1982): Margins of Philosophy. —— 1974 (1986): Glas. —— 1977: “Limited Inc abc.” —— 1993 (1994): Spectres of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International. Norris, C. 1987: Derrida. Wood, D., ed. 1991: Derrida: A Critical Reader.


190 discourse In its broadest, least technical sense, “discourse” means simply “talk” or “conversation,” sometimes with the hint of a didactic purpose (thus “sermon,” “treatise,” or “lengthy address to some particular topic”). This latter development seems rather at odds with the word’s etymology, going back to the Latin verb discurrere, “to run about,” “range widely,” “wander off course,” etc. And indeed there is something of the same ambiguity – or tendency to pull in opposite directions – when the word is taken up (as it has been often of late) into the usage of various specialized disciplines. I shall therefore look at some of the issues it raises for philosophy, linguistics, and the human sciences in general. The linguist Emile Benveniste was among the most influential thinkers in this field. According to him, “discourse” has to do with those aspects of language that can only be interpreted with reference to the speaker, to his or her spatiotemporal location, or to other such variables which serve to specify the localized context of utterance. It thus lays claim to a distinctive and well-defined area of study, one that includes the personal pronouns (especially “I” and “you”), Deictics of place (“here,” “there,” etc.) and temporal markers (“now,” “today,” “next week,”) in the absence of which the utterance in question would lack determinate sense. Structural linguistics – following Saussure – treats language (la langue) as a transindividual network or economy of Signifying elements, conceived in ideal abstraction from the individual speech act. Benveniste on the contrary sets out to analyze the various subject positions (“enunciative modalities”) that constitute the realm of discourse, Parole, or language in its social-communicative aspect. Nevertheless, what he shares with Saussure’s poststructuralist disciples is the working premise that subjectivity is constructed in and through language, since quite simply there is nothing (no possible appeal to the Kantian transcendental Subject, to a priori concepts, self-evident truths, primordial intuitions, facts of experience, or whatever) that would offer a secure vantage point beyond the play of discursive representations. Clearly there are large philosophical implications bound up with this idea of language (or discourse) as the absolute horizon of intelligibility for thought and knowledge in general.

This is also what sets Benveniste’s work apart from J.L. Austin’s otherwise similar concern with the kinds of performative or Speech-act modality exhibited by various instances of everyday discourse. It may well be the case – as argued by poststructuralist adepts like Shoshana Felman – that Austin’s theory is itself subject to all manner of performative slips, “misfires,” and returns of the linguistic unconscious repressed. However, these anomalies require much ingenious coaxing from the style of down-to-earth, commonsense talk that goes with Austin’s suasive appeal to the wisdom enshrined in “ordinary language.” Benveniste writes out of a very different intellectual culture, one that has traditionally laid most stress on the Cartesian virtues of system, method, and lucid self-knowledge. All the more provocative, therefore, is the way that his work seems to open a cleft – a moment of slippage or dehiscence – between the self-possessed subject posited by Descartes’ cogito, ergo sum and the Subject as construed in discourse-theoretical terms, that is to say, a pronominal “position” caught up in the endless passage from signifier to signifier. Such at least is the reading of Benveniste propounded by poststructuralists eager to dissolve all the certitudes (or “foundationalist” truth claims) of philosophy from Descartes to the present. On this account it is the merest of illusions – albeit an illusion deeply bound up with the entire project of “Western metaphysics” – to imagine that thinking could ever attain the kind of punctual, transparent, self-present grasp envisaged by “logocentric” reason. In Benveniste’s terms the error can be diagnosed as a failure to distinguish between two levels of discourse, those pertaining respectively to the “Subject of the enounced” and the “Subject of the enunciation.” Thus when Descartes offers the cogito as an indubitable ground of knowledge – a last refuge against all the threats of epistemological doubt – he can do so only by performing what amounts to a rhetorical sleight of hand, an utterance that seeks to collapse this distinction between the “I” who thinks and the “I” that is constituted as the subject–object of its own reflection. In that case, poststructuralists would argue, the Cartesian project necessarily miscarries, since it generates linguistic Aporias beyond its power to contain or control. And the same applies to those subsequent

191 prevent it from ever coinciding with its object in a moment of achieved equilibrium. We are therefore (Lacan argues) hopelessly mistaken if we hold psychoanalysis accountable to standards of enlightened truth-seeking thought. It is the sheer opacity of the Freudian text – its resistance to any kind of lucid expository treatment – which Lacan views as the purveyor of truth, albeit a “truth” that can scarcely be expressed in conceptual or rational-discursive terms. This is also (though some would consider it a charitable reading) why Lacan’s own texts go out of their way to create syntactic and stylistic obstacles for anyone who looks to them in hope of discovering an easy route of access to the Freudian corpus. On the contrary, such access is everywhere denied by a style that raises difficulty into a high point of principle, or which (less kindly) takes bafflement as a guard against the requirements of plain good sense. Again it is Descartes who figures most often as the thinker who first set philosophy out on its delusory quest for “clear and distinct ideas.” But Psychoanalysis has traveled the same path, Lacan argues, in so far as it has embraced the imaginary ideal of a pure, unimpeded self-knowledge, an end point to the therapeutic process when all such resistances would fall away and the subject accede to a full understanding of her/his (hitherto repressed or sublimated) motives and desires. It is against this heresy – which he associates chiefly with American ego psychology – that Lacan directs both his fiercest polemics and his practice of a style that makes no concessions to the Cartesian “tyranny of lucidity.” Some philosophers – Jürgen Habermas among them – have rejected not only this Lacanian reading of Freud but also the entire poststructuralist project of which it formed a prominent part. In his early book Knowledge and Human Interests (1968) Habermas set out to defend psychoanalysis against the charge of “irrationalism” that has so often been leveled against it. Freud is, on the contrary, a thinker who belongs very firmly to the Enlightenment tradition, or in the company of those – from Kant to Husserl – who have sought to sustain the “philosophic discourse of Modernity” in the face of various threats from skeptics and opponents like Nietzsche. At this time Habermas had not yet adopted his stance of overt antagonism toward


philosophies – from Kant to Husserl – which invoke some version of the transcendental subject as locus and arbiter of truth. Hence the recent spate of speculative work – mostly by literary theorists – on the margin between philosophy and Psychoanalysis, the latter having taken its own poststructuralist turn through the teachings of the eminent (if maverick) practitioner Jacques Lacan. To this way of thinking – “French Freud” in colloquial parlance – there is no means of access to the unconscious save through the discourse between analyst and patient, a discourse whose transferential character is marked by all manner of linguistic swerves, substitutions, and displacements. Moreover, we can best read Freud by attending to those symptomatic moments in his work where the “agency of the letter” (or the deviant “logic” of the signifier) emerges to disrupt and complicate his own project. If the Unconscious is indeed “structured like a language,” as Lacan claims, then the insights of linguistics – especially those derived from the work of structuralist thinkers like Saussure and Jakobson – are simply indispensable for any reading that would respect the exigencies of the Freudian text and not fall prey to various kinds of naive or mystified account. This may require some degree of terminological latitude, as when Lacan suggests that terms like “Condensation” and “Displacement” were adopted by Freud ( faute de mieux) from the mechanistic discourse current in his time, but that now – after Jakobson – we should reader the one as “Metaphor” and the other as “Metonymy,” thus restoring the unconscious to its proper dimension as a field of tropological drives and exchanges. Metaphor then becomes that aspect of the dreamwork – or the process of secondary revision – whereby one signifier substitutes for another, or where numerous meanings condense into a single image or symptom (Overdetermination). And metonymy stands in not only for “displacement” – the endless passage from signifier to signifer – but also for desire in so far as it connotes a kind of structural nonfulfillment, an ineluctable lack which he equates with the Saussurian “bar” between signifier and signified. For desire is distinguished from straightforward (instinctual or physical) need by its entanglement in precisely those structures of discourse – of transference and deferred meaning – which


192 Post-structuralism and allied strains of counteren-lightenment thought. However, it is clear enough already that he interprets Freud’s cardinal maxim – “Where Id was, there shall Ego be” – in a manner diametrically opposed to Lacan’s teaching. On this account the phrase is best construed as a version of the Kantian motto Sapere aude! (“Have the courage to think for yourself !”), that is to say, as an appeal to the values of reason and emancipatory knowledge in the private as well as the public–political sphere. Thus for Habermas the task of psychoanalysis is to bring the subject to a conscious (reflective) awareness of those repressed or sublimated memories, motives, and desires that would otherwise stand in its way. In so far as Freud’s theories can claim any kind of intellectual validity or therapeutic power, they must be seen as deriving from that same tradition of enlightened Ideologiekritik, a tradition whose resources Habermas equates with the interests of a genuine participant democracy premised on the values of open dialogical exchange. Nothing could be further from Lacan’s response to the question that Freud famously posed in the title of his late essay “Analysis terminable or interminable?” From a Lacanian standpoint there is simply no end to the detours of the unconscious signifier, the way that language – or the discourse of desire – is forever caught up in a metonymic chain whereby truth becomes purely a figment of the Imaginary, a function whose value cannot be assigned except in relation to this or that transient subject position, like the purloined letter in the story by Edgar Allan Poe which Lacan took as a kind of allegorical mise-en-scène for the psychoanalytic encounter. Such are the complexities of Transference and counter transference – the two-way exchange of Symbolic roles between patient and analyst – that nobody can occupy the privileged position envisaged by the ego psychologists and other perverters of the Freudian truth. Like Descartes (as Lacan reads him), they are the victims of a specular misrecognition whose effect is precisely to bolster the ego’s deluded hopes of making reason master in its own house. Small wonder that Habermas, in his later writings, has targeted this whole poststructuralist discourse as a species of latter-day Nietzschean irrationalism allied to a deeply conservative turn against the truth claims of enlightened critique. To this the Lacanians

respond – predictably enough – by deploring his attachment to an outworn discourse of reason, enlightenment, and truth, a discourse (so it is argued) whose liberal rhetoric conceals a tyrannizing will-to-power over language, desire, and whatever eludes its self-assured rational grasp. It is hard to imagine any possible rapprochement between those (like Habermas) who would uphold the values of critical-emancipatory thought and those others (postmodernists and poststructuralists among them) who regard such values as possessing no more than an illusory or long since obsolete appeal within the philosophic discourse of modernity. And this despite the fact – very evident in his recent writings – that Habermas has himself travelled a long way toward acknowledging the force of certain antifoundationalist arguments, thus abandoning at least some areas of the Kantian high ground staked out in a work like Knowledge and Human Interests. What this amounts to is a version of the currently widespread “linguistic turn,” the invocation of language as an ultimate horizon of intelligibility, or the denial that we can ever attain any knowledge save that vouchsafed through discourses, language games, Signifying Systems, structures of representation, etc. Habermas has taken full measure of these arguments, redefining his project in terms that derive from speech-act philosophy and the theory of Communicative action, as distinct from those epistemological concerns that characterized his earlier work. However, he rejects the postmodernpragmatist idea that discourse – so to speak – goes all the way down, that rhetoric (not reason) is what finally counts, since the only criterion for a valid or persuasive argument is the extent to which it happens to fit in with some existing language game or cultural “form of life.” Such doctrines are philoso-phically bankrupt, expressing as they do a vote of no confidence in the capacity of thought to criticize false beliefs, to distinguish valid from invalid truth claims, and to analyze the causes – psychological or social – that produce various kinds of prejudice, self-ignorance, or “commonsense” dogmatism. Moreover, they are politically and ethically harmful in so far as they promote a conservative agenda of inert consensusbased values and attitudes, an “end-of-ideology” creed which equates truth with what is (currently and contingently) “good in the way of belief.”


Reading Benveniste, Emile Linguistics.





Coulthard, M. 1977: An Introduction to Discourse Analysis. Coupland, Nikolas, ed. 1987: Styles of Discourse. Foucault, Michel 1972: The Archaeology of Knowledge. Habermas, Jürgen 1971: Knowledge and Human Interests. —— 1979: Communication and the Evolution of Society. —— 1987: The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Halliday, M.A.K. 1978: Language as Social Semiotic. Lacan, Jacques 1977: Ecrits: A Selection. —— 1978: The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis. MacDonell, D. 1986: Theories of Discourse: An Introduction. van Dijk, T.A. 1985: Handbook of Discourse Analysis.

christopher norris discursive practices One of a series of related terms – others being discursive formations, objects, relations, regularities, and strategies – introduced by Michel Foucault (1974). Discursive practices are characterized by groups of rules that define their respective specificities. In contrast to the analysis of Discourses as Systems of Signs, Foucault treats discourses as “practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak.” See also Archaeology of knowledge; Archive.

Reading Foucault, M. 1971: “Orders of discourse.” —— 1974: The Archaeology of Knowledge.

barry smart displacement placement



dissociation of sensibility The supposed rupture between thought and feeling in the seventeenth century. T.S. Eliot coined the term in his essay on “The metaphysical poets” in 1921, describing it as “something which happened to the mind of England between the time of Donne . . . and the time of Tennyson” so that sensibility ceased to be “unified” and poets “thought and felt by fits, unbalanced.” Eliot later noted that it “had a success in the world astonishing to its author,” and it in fact became the foundation of an entire revisionist literary history, especially in the work of F.R. Leavis and the New Critics. Later

dissociation of sensibility

This is why Habermas describes his project as a “transcendental pragmatics,” one that makes room for a critique of those existing values from the standpoint of an “ideal speech-situation,” a regulative idea (in the Kantian sense) of what we can and should aspire to as participating members of a free and open democratic society. For it is clearly the case that any current (de facto) consensus may always be subject to a range of distorting pressures and influences, as for instance through the workings of state censorship, press manipulation, media bias, educational underprivilege, inequalities of access to the relevant information sources, etc. What Habermas therefore seeks to conserve – and what sets him decidedly at odds with the current postmodernpragmatist wisdom – is a critical sense of those factors that conspire to thwart or frustrate the shared aspiration to a public sphere of openly communicable reasons, motives, interests, and values. Nor are these issues confined to the realm of abstruse philosophical debate. For it can readily happen – as with recent variations on the post-ideological/“new world order” theme – that some existing currency of consensus belief in, for example, the virtues of “Liberal democracy,” US style, is taken at face value without any question being raised about the sheer gulf that exists between rhetoric and reality, or the actual effects of US policy in the domestic and geopolitical spheres. Only by keeping such distinctions in view can philosophy live up to its social and ethical task, that is to say, its commitment to a critique of consensus values wherever these serve as a refuge or smokescreen for other, less humanly accountable interests. To this extent – and despite his concessions to the anti-foundationalist case – Habermas still keeps faith with the discourse of enlightened or critical-emancipatory thought, a project whose central (Kantian) tenet is the exercise of reason against the more beguiling self-images and rhetorics of the age. See also Bakhtin, Mikhail; Codes; Critical theory; Discursive practices; Episteme; Language, Philosophy of; Language theories; Langue/parole; Metalanguage; Postmodernism; Structuralism.

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194 critics have shown that it is extremely doubtful whether any such historical event actually took place. See also Brooks, Cleanth; New Criticism; Tate, Allen

Reading Bateson, F.W. 1951: “Contributions to a dictionary of critical terms. II: Dissociation of sensibility.” Eliot, T.S. 1921 (1975): “The metaphysical poets.” Kermode, Frank 1957: The Romantic Image.

iain wright

diversity and culture “My motto is diversity.” The words are from Jean de La Fontaine’s “Eel Pie.” What other genius could be more French than the fable-writer? Yet, at the risk of displeasing the partisans of France’s famed “cultural diversity,” there are quite a few who think that our country cares only for its own diversity – that it lovingly cultivates its range of wines, cheeses, perfumes, and other libertine refinements but very grudgingly eases ajar its door and Republican institutions to the diversity of the rest of the world. As a European citizen of Bulgarian descent, French nationality, and American adoption, I am responsive to such criticism. However, after several decades spent in France, I should like to emphasize three facets of my experience which to me illustrate France’s contribution to Europe’s specificity. To begin with, Europe is now a political entity where at least as many languages are spoken as there are member countries. This linguistic pluralism is the founding element of a cultural diversity that needs to be preserved and respected in order to preserve and respect the various national characters. At the same time, these characters need to be exchanged, mingled, and cross-fertilized. Saint Bernard, back in the twelfth century, saw the European as a “subject of love,” after blending the Song of Songs with his adventures as a Crusader, and the physical self-analysis inseparable from a tormented spirit, finally finding solace in beatitude. The Renaissance reconciled us with the marvels of Greece and the pomp of Rome. In the seventeenth century, Descartes revealed the ego cogito to an age of emerging science and burgeoning economy. It

was the eighteenth century that, along with the charms of libertinage and beggars’ rags, introduced the concern for individualities expressed in the charter of human rights. After the horror of the Holocaust, the nineteenth-century bourgeois and the twentieth-century rebel had to meet the challenge of another age. Today, Europe’s linguistic diversity is creating kaleidoscopic people able to cope as well with the “Globish” English imposed by globalization as with good old “Francophonie” – which finds it tough to shed its Versaillais dreams for the task of becoming the transmitting fluid of tradition and innovation and mixing its genes. A new human species is slowly emerging: the “polyphonic person,” the multilingual citizen of a multinational Europe. I shall try to formulate some necessarily subjective ideas on this active process, singularizing to the extreme the intrinsically plural psychic universe of these future Europeans. Young Europeans are gradually coming to terms with this polyphony. I myself had the good fortune of noticing it forty years ago when General de Gaulle awarded me a grant to study in Paris. Although a skeptical European, he was a confirmed visionary who even then imagined a Europe stretching “from the Atlantic to the Urals.” Next, I shall discuss the diversity represented by the “French social model,” a chimera to be nurtured and perfected. I claim that it forms part of a European model of liberty, all the more necessary today when humankind is being automated under the influence of technology. Last, I shall express my desire to see French secularism, that other “French exception,” taken seriously throughout the world – amazed as I am by our trivial effort to make it understood outside our frontiers – by all those who are increasingly aware that flirting with community separateness is not unconnected with “the clash of religions.” The foreigner – and nowadays the European traveling from one country to another, speaking his country’s tongue as well as that, or those, of the others – differs, since he speaks another language, from the person who is not foreign. In Europe, we shall not be, or are no longer, able to escape from this condition. Foreignness is affixed to our original identity, like a more or less permanent second skin. Looked at more closely, this fact is more extraordinary than it might appear. It indicates

195 as to follow where an argument leads, and the impossibility – more political than moral – of backtracking on a judgment. Mallarmé’s ellipses enchant me; so many contractions in the seeming pallor of ordinary subjects give every word the compactness of a diamond, the surprise of throwing a dice. I have entered so far into this other language, which I have used for forty years, that I can almost understand the Americans who take me for a French thinker and author. Sometimes, though, when I come back to France after a trip to the East, West, North, or South, I cannot identify with the French attitude that dismisses the world’s evil and misery and preaches off-handedness or even nationalism as the cure-all for our century . . . which, alas, is neither the Grand Siècle nor the century of Voltaire-Diderot-Rousseau. For all that, I love returning to France. I said this in “Possesions” and I say it again, I love returning to France. No opacity, no drama, no puzzle. Obviousness. Transparency in language and cool sky. I know very well that there is France and France and that not all the French are as crystalline as they would have us believe. Yet, arriving from Santa Barbara, this is the vision that strikes. That the French are a thinking people is apparent virtually everywhere. Your being becomes logical in the instant. Effort flows away and dispute, although perpetual, evaporates in seduction and irony. I house my body in France’s landscape of logic. I shelter in Paris’s urbane, prosperous, and smiling streets. I rub shoulders with these ordinary world-weary, self-contained people with their impenetrable but finally polite intimacy. The French built Notre-Dame cathedral, the Louvre, conquered Europe and much of the world, then went back home. Preferring serenity, a pleasure synonymous with well-being, to the pleasure of fighting. But since they prefer pleasure over reality, they still believe they are masters of the universe or, at least, a major power. And the universe, condescending, irritated, fascinated, seems ready to follow them, us, for the moment, often reluctantly. Here human violence has surrendered to the taste for gaiety, and a quiet accumulation of delights gives the impression that destiny and relaxedness are one and the same. So I forget the death that reigns in Santa Barbara.

diversity and culture

an exceptional destiny, at once tragic and privileged. In my case, at the meeting-point of at least two languages, I handle a word-form that has the surface of French, smooth as the stone of a holy water font, but encloses the dark gilding of Orthodox icons. It ornaments with prophetic allusions the clarity of those who are because they think. What of hurt in this valiant mixture of blood? I was expecting the question and my answer is only half-prepared. There is an element of matricide in the abandonment of a native tongue. It hurt to lose my Thracian bee-hive, the honey of my dreams, but there was also the pleasure of revenge, and the pride of having achieved the ideal of the native bees . . . to fly higher, faster, more powerfully than their parents. It is not for nothing that the Balkans of today are heir to Greece, Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire. Our children will have Russian, English, French, “American,” and globalization spread out in front of them. Since Rabelais, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the organized crime of the oligarchs, exile, a painful path always, is the only way left to us in seeking the dive bouteille. The divine flask can be found only through search aware of its searching, or exile eschewing the certainty and insolence associated with exile. In this boundless grieving, where language and body relive in the scansion of grafted-on French, I put my ear to the still-warm corpse of my maternal memory. Not involuntary nor subconscious, no, maternal. At the far edge of intoned words and unfathomable pulsations, but close to the sense and biology which my imagination can summon up in French, lies the ache I feel, Bulgaria, my souffrance. In this experience of the “other tongue,” I hold a dialogue with Bulgaria, but in souffrance I hear “France.” My dialogue is addressed as much, if not more, to the chosen language as to the one bestowed at birth. The logical clarity of French, the impeccable exactitude of its vocabulary, the sharpness of its grammar beguile my methodical mind and strive to impress a straightness on my connivance with the Black Seas of passion. I regret leaving behind the lexical ambiguities and often indefinable plural meanings of Bulgarian speech, untamed by Cartesianism, consonant with the heart’s desire and the night of the senses. Still, I love the Latin punch of concepts, the obligation to decide so

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196 Does our pride in spreading Francophonie, which runs counter to the spread of English, Globish, and more, take account of these delights and aches? Perhaps we should, in transmitting the taste for the French language, its literary traditions and present mutations, begin by making France’s situation – philosophy, art, subjects of discussion – intelligible and shareable. Before we spice the taste for Francophony and, why not, communicate its virtues and glories, we could convince and win over by explaining the state of France in other people’s languages. Europe and the world in their turn invite us on that journey, where the home-born French have everything to gain. Without going further into this cohabitation with the “other language,” I turn to its cultural and political context. As proved by topical social and political events, our country is the one where liberty considered as rebellion assumes an amplitude possibly unequalled in the world. France’s national unity is a historical accomplishment that has the air of a cult or myth. Of course, each one is tied to his family, clan of friends, profession, or province. Nonetheless, there is a real national cohesion, more compact perhaps than elsewhere, bedded in the language, the legacy of the monarchy and Republican institutions, rooted in the art of living and that harmony of shared customs which we call French taste. The Anglo-Saxon world is a family one. In France, the family is an essential refuge, naturally, but it is also in France that Gide could say, “Families, I hate you.” Its meta-familial envelope is neither the Queen nor the Dollar, it is the Nation. Montesquieu, in The Spirit of Laws, stated it definitively: “There are two kinds of tyranny: the real kind, government violence, and that of opinion, which is felt when those who govern introduce things which shock the Nation’s way of thinking.” This “Nation’s way of thinking” has been an omnipresent political datum . . . since the Renaissance and the Napoleonic Wars. It is a source of pride and is an absolute factor in France. In the recent past, we have many examples of its degenerating into parochial foreigner-loathing nationalism. But to leave it out of account would be blithely unthinking, to say the least. It is, moreover, a cohesion that likes to break apart: into networks, sub-groups, clans. Their rambunctious rivalries produce a fine and

amusing diversity as well as a harmful cacophony. As Chamfort wrote, “In France, there is by reason no more public or nation than shredded cotton is linen.” Under the Fifth Republic, as the different political parties can attest, the shredding can hardly be said to have diminished. The political arena is designed for harmonizing these conflicting stands, these incompatible power relations. Is this balancing act less successful in France than in other countries? I think not. The French like to show off, parade, demonstrate, display, and share out their bruised feelings and purse-strings in public. This exhibition of bad temper does not result in a media circus. It is taken half-seriously, with doubt and mockery. While impressed, the people do not embark on a “Monicagate” or an O.J. Simpson trial. The French may like spectacle but they laugh at dramatization. National pride can transmute into Poujadist arrogance and a lazy disinclination towards enterprise. There are many French who are turned off by Europe and the world, who simply find solace in hankering for “lost time.” But national pride has sides to it that are trump cards in this post-industrial age. For this “people,” that of Robespierre or Saint-Just or Michelet, poverty is not a handicap. “The eternally unfortunate people,” dixit Sieyès. “The downtrodden applaud me,” rejoiced Robespierre. “The oppressed are the force of the earth,” concluded Saint-Just. More than in other countries they feel a sense of superiority: that of belonging to an illustrious civilization that they would not for worlds swap for the enticements of globalization. A pity, it is said, that the French are neither very enterprising nor very competitive. Even our students are not keen on pursuing their studies abroad. In the other direction, plenty of foreign students are pleased to come and learn what the French have to teach. The imbalance is the subject of wide concern, and the search for remedies has begun. The fact remains that the sense of dignity that removes shame from poverty and puts value on the quality of life is again becoming an attractive target for people in the developing world, as for those in the industrialized world who feel victimized by automation, ungodly working hours, unemployment, and the lack of social protection. Of course, when this demanding and haughty entity, the people of France, addresses the

197 so easily to despise others, neglect the world, and make no entrepreneurial effort, gone? Overconfidence? Today this cockiness is mixed with self-devaluation, which can tip over into decrial of oneself and others. The depression sufferer is someone with tyrannical ideals; indeed, a draconian superego, demanding a supposedly deserved perfection, is the deep-down motor of depression. I formulated this theory in 1990 in an open letter to Harlem Désir. The malady has had its highs and lows since then, the nadir being reached before the parliamentary dissolution of 1997. It may be remarked that, after the ensuing elections and a concomitant or prospective upturn in the economy, the mood of the French has brightened. The 2007 presidential election campaign, which mobilized the French to a surprising degree, much more than in previous consultations, would seem to show that a revival of citizen spirit is under way. But the depressive undercurrent has not disappeared. The psychoanalyst, when confronted with a depressed patient, begins by rebuilding selfconfidence, restoring the self-image and the relationship between the two actors in the cure, so that speech becomes fruitful again and a genuine critical analysis of what is wrong can be undertaken. Similarly, a depressed nation needs to have an enhanced image of itself before attempting to tackle European integration, industrial and commercial expansion, and better treatment of immigrants. It is not a question of flattering the French, or lulling them with the illusion of having qualities they lack. But the country’s cultural heritage – its aesthetic, technical, and scientific capabilities – despite no lack of highly justified criticism, are insufficiently emphasized, especially by the intelligentsia, always quick to exaggerate doubt and push Cartesianism to the point of self-loathing. “Nations, like men, die from imperceptible discourtesies,” wrote Giraudoux. I wonder whether our Third-Worldist cosmopolitan generosity has not conducted us into committing “imperceptible discourtesies” that have aggravated the national depression. It is time to start curing it. For if the depressed person does not kill himself, he finds an outlet for his distress in manic reaction: instead of maligning himself, repressing himself, or sinking into inertia, he starts hunting for enemies, usually imagined ones, and embarks on wars, which are naturally holy

diversity and culture

government, the supposedly hoped-for dialogue turns into a test of wills. But it must not be thought that the situation is deadlocked. What if, for example, we managed to take seriously the popular demand to distribute the nation’s – and the world’s – wealth more equitably? As a precedent, it would surely interest other countries. A competitive Europe will not be truly free until it succeeds in reconciling the pace of globalization with the popular demands that France expresses today with the greatest amount of conviction. Yet our feeling is that the country is suffering from depression like a human being. Depression is one of the commonest syndromes of our time. Recent statistics show that our country has one of the highest suicide rates in the world: fourth in Europe, behind Finland, Denmark, and Austria. (Obviously, we do not count the former Soviet bloc, Japan, or China.) Depression has a complex array of causes – narcissistic injury, deficient maternal relationship, lack of paternal ideal, etc. All of them lead the depressed person to depreciate the ties that bind, beginning with language – the depressed person does not talk, loses faith in communication, retreats into silence, weeping, immobility, inertia – and ending with the tie to life (the death wish and suicide). Increasingly today, we see that individual depression is an expression of social distress: job loss, prolonged unemployment, occupational harassment, poverty, lack of future and purpose. France, we may say, is living through a national depression similar to the kind that afflicts individuals. We have lost the great power image that de Gaulle had restored. France has more and more difficulty making its voice heard, finds it hard to get its way in European negotiations and competition with America. Migration flows have created the problems with which we are familiar. There is a pervasive, not always justifiable, feeling of insecurity and menace. The simple, clear ideals and prospects of the old demagogic, yet appealing, ideologies do not cut ice any more. In the circumstances, the country reacts like a depressed patient, whose first instinct is to withdraw, stay at home, lie in bed and remain silent except to complain. Many French people accord no credit to politics and community life, they cease to act, they moan, are scared of others, fear Europe. Where have the traditional chauvinist arrogance and crowing, which led the French

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198 wars. You will have recognized the Front National and fundamentalism. Several times in recent years, this xenophobia and these archaisms have made me consider another exile, to leave France and settle in the States, or Canada . . . and find more archaisms, more xenophobia? In the meantime, I place my trust in the respect for public life, de-stigmatization of poverty, solidarity in helping the poor, pride in the cultural heritage, the cult of enjoyment and freedom, the construction of a just and dynamic Europe, which France, not content with being a member, must inspire. I distrust the enticements of archaism, nationalism (which is not the nation), and sexism. The French personify both the discontent of the underclass (that of Robespierre and Hugo) and the brazenness of a nation that takes pleasure (from Rabelais to Colette). Is this a hindrance? Within the European area, it can be an opportunity, so as not to die celebrating the end of history with market deals. The new forms of rebellion require the help more than ever of the elites and specialized groups (professions, age cohorts, etc.). Is it impossible to reconcile the “people,” the “elites,” and the “opinion sectors”? Difficult, certainly, but impossible? As regards the “elites,” it is not the “people” who lack consideration for them, it is the elites themselves. When they fail to show concern, they confine themselves in technicalities and rip one another up in internecine strife. But they do exist and, in the laboratories and universities, as well as in the creative arts, outstanding achievements are not rare. One example is the biology-law-philosophy-psychoanalysisaesthetics forum, on the cursus of the Institute for Contemporary Thought, which I initiated along with others at the University ParisDiderot; it is necessary not only for sustaining the impetus in biology but also for dealing with biology’s excesses. French researchers have the best approach in the matter, and public opinion is not indifferent. Have we regressed since the 1960s? In America I hear, “Nothing more is happening in France.” Perhaps or perhaps not. On the surface, what is happening is less spectacular. The media are saturated with “shows”; work in depth does not come across well on the TV screen, when it is seen at all. It still goes on, possibly with more seriousness than before.

France is wanted in Europe. Perhaps it takes a stranger like myself, but French by adoption, to draw attention to this fact on the eve of elections that inspire so much uneasiness and hope. France is, after all, the primary upholder of a model of liberty bred in Europe and needed by the world. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 highlighted the difference between two models of culture: European culture and North American culture. To avoid any misunderstanding, I hasten to add that we are talking about two conceptions of liberty that the Western democracies, as a whole and without exception, have the honor of having developed and done their best to implement. We are not sufficiently proud of this. The two conceptions of liberty rest upon Greek, Jewish, and Christian traditions. Despite the notorious failures and abominations, freedom remains our supreme value. The two conceptions, especially in the present state of affairs, can often be set, and even war, against one another. A look at them will let us better understand what seems to separate Europe from America today, much more radically than their immediate political and economic interests do. Yet, basically, the two versions of liberty are complementary and, to me, equally present in us on both sides of the Atlantic. At the risk of simplifying, I shall, for the sake of clarity, continue to pit them one against the other. It was Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and Critique of Practical Reason (1789), who for the very first time defined what other humans had probably observed without achieving his clarity of vision – namely that liberty is not negatively an “absence of constraint” but is positively the possibility of Selbstanfang, “self-beginning.” Kant, identifying liberty with self-beginning, opened the way for an apologia of the enterprising self, of self-initiative . . . if I may, personally for myself, interpret his thinking as “cosmological fact.” At the same time, the philosopher did not fail to subordinate the liberty of Reason, whether pure or practical, to a Cause, be it divine or moral. From this I extrapolate that, in a world increasingly dominated by technology, liberty is progressively becoming the faculty of adjusting to a “cause,” still external to the self, but less and less a moral cause and more and more an economic one, or at best both of them together. In this line

199 of liberty, which manifests itself in the verbal being through the presence of oneself to the other and is quite distinct from liberalism. It is, if anything, a liberalism of letting go. The psychological and social connotations of the liberty so defined are obvious. The poet is its best exemplar. He is joined by the libertine, who defies social cause-and-effect correctness to express his dissident form of desire; also by the transfer and counter-transfer of psychoanalysis; and by the revolutionary, who sets the privileges of the individual above any other convention. This formed the base for Human Rights and the French Revolution’s proclamation of LibertyEquality-Fraternity, which radically consolidated the progress achieved by England’s Habeas Corpus. If we manage to understand and interpret these patterns, experiences, and lines of thinking, we shall be better able to refuse a now-prevalent (especially outside France) view of the eighteenth century that confuses the Enlightenment’s legacy with abstract universalism. We are in the process of building the European Union, with all the familiar difficulties and roadblocks that this entails. In this often chaotic context, France’s call to establish a “social Europe,” although sometimes not well heard, elicits echoes from other governments and from a public opinion wedded to its cultural tradition. Our feeling is that we are proposing a model of society that would not, or not entirely, be that of the liberalism commonly associated with the American model. The affirmation of our cultural difference is founded on more than a memory and a tradition assumed to be more ancient, refined, and sophisticated, since proceeding from the Old World; it flows from the conviction of having that other notion of liberty, which gives priority to being, singular being, over economic and scientific necessity. When a French government, whether representing the left or certain tendencies in the Gaullist right, insists on “solidarity” opposite “liberalism,” it is in effect defending this variant of liberty. It is easy to discern the dangers in this attitude: disregard for economic reality, withdrawal into special-interest claims, abandonment of world competition, retirement into indolence and, precisely, Old-Worldiness. This is why vigilance is required and why the constraints of the technological, cause-and-effect world must not be

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of thought, favored by Protestantism – I refer to Max Weber’s work on the links between capitalism and Protestantism – liberty appears as the freedom to adjust oneself to the logic of cause and effect. Or, as Hannah Arendt said, to the “calculation of consequences,” to the logic of production, science, economics. Being free is having the freedom to draw the best from adjusting to the chain of causes and effects, to adjust to the market of production and profit. Globalization and liberalism are the endproduct of this liberty, whereby you are free to . . . start incorporating yourself into the causeand-effect chain. The Supreme Cause (the Deity) and the Technical Cause (the Dollar) are the twin variants, united and copresent, which guarantee that working of our freedoms within this system, which we might call the logic of instrumentalization. I do not deny the scope and benefits of this form of liberty, adapted to the cause-and-effect chain and culminating in a particular type of thought, whose acme is scientific thinking, the thought of calculation. It represents a crucial step in the development of a humanity advancing into technology, the free market, and automation. American civilization is the one the best adapted to that liberty. All that I am saying is that it is not the only liberty that exists. There is another model of liberty, which appeared, wrapped in philosophy, in the world of ancient Greece with the pre-Socratic thinkers and developed through Socratic dialogue. This other liberty is not subordinate to a Cause; it precedes the concatenation of the Aristotelian “categories,” which are themselves the premise of scientific and technical reason. This fundamental freedom lies in Being, in the verbal being who reveals and gives himself, who is present to himself and to others and who in this sense frees himself. This liberation of the verbal being by and in the encounter between One and the Other is brought to light in Heidegger’s discussion of Kant’s philosophy (1930 Seminar, published as “The Essence of Human Freedom”). The task is to integrate this liberty of the surprising encounter into philosophy’s essential core, as a non-finite interrogation, before liberty becomes attached, at a later stage, to the chain of cause and effect and control over it. It is important today, before the vista of the modern world, to insist on this second conception

dominant / residual / emergent

200 overlooked. Yet the advantages of the other model of liberty, today upheld by the European nations, are evident. This other model, which is more an aspiration than a firm project, is powered by a concern for human life where it is most frailly singular, that of the poor, the disabled, and the elderly – as well as respect for sexual and ethnic differences – in their specific intimacy, not only in their role as consumers. Can we maintain this conception of singular liberty for the whole of mankind? It is by no means certain. Everything goes to show that on this earth we are swept up in the maelstrom of calculation-thought and material consumption. The only counterpoise is a recrudescence of sects and cults for which the sacred is not the “perpetual quest” required by human dignity as I described it earlier, but rather a submission to the same cause-and-effect logic carried to the extreme – in this case, the enslaving power of the sect or fundamentalist group. This is to say that the religious alternative, when it degenerates into a clash among fundamentalisms, instead of counterpointing technological dominance, acts as the exact symmetrical twin of competition and conflictual logic, which it reinforces. In this respect, Europe is far from being consistent and united. The Iraq war and the terrorist threat have led some to observe that a chasm separates “Old Europe” from “New Europe,” to use their terms. Without venturing too far into the complexities of this problem, I should like to voice two opinions, perforce highly personal, on the matter. First, it is essential that “Old Europe,” France in particular, should take the economic difficulties of “New Europe” very seriously. These difficulties make these countries especially dependent on the United States. It is also necessary to recognize the cultural, and more particularly religious, differences separating us from these countries and learn better to respect them. The famous “French arrogance” does not really fit us for this task; and the Orthodox peoples of Europe feel a certain bitterness at this lack of understanding. On another front, Europe’s knowledge of the Arab world, after the long years of colonization, attunes us well to Islamic culture. This enables us to temper, if not completely avoid, the “clash of civilizations” to which I alluded earlier. The European countries’ surreptitious anti-Semitism should, however,

keep us watchful as regards the rise of new forms of anti-Semitic sentiment. I purposely stressed the Greco-French origins of the second model of liberty, which I treated too briefly. Let it be clear that no one holds a monopoly on it, and that Protestants and Catholics alike have a rich potential in this field. I should add that the notion of being “chosen” in Judaism, while different from that of liberty, makes someone belonging to that tradition particularly suited to accomplishing precisely what is out of our grasp, namely cross-fertilizing the two versions of liberty: the “liberal” and the “mutually supportive”; the “technical” and the “poetic”; the “causal” and the “revelatory.” Other civilizations contribute their own notions of what constitutes a human being. Despite the globalization at work, these have their place, and indeed their diversity is a corrective for globalization. Diversity in cultural models is the sole guarantee of respect for a humanity that we can describe only as “hospitality.” Technical and robotic uniformization is clearly the quickest and simplest way of stabbing it to death. But attention; hospitality should not be a mere juxtaposition of differences, with one model dominating all the others. Quite the contrary, hospitality in diversity requires appreciating other logics and other liberties in order to render each system more multiple and complex. Humanity, for which I have yet to find a definition, is possibly a process of complexification. Respect for Europe’s difference could be a decisive step in this direction. We know the adage of the French moralists, “If God did not exist, we should have to invent it.” It is to the interest of our pluralist liberty, and it is to America’s interest also – America, which sees itself as the “Third Rome” of the globalized world, but also perceives the repulsion provoked by this uniformization and its disastrous consequences.

Reading Kristeva, Julia 1996 (2000): The Sense and Non-sense of Revolt. —— 1997 (2002): Intimate Revolt. —— 2004: Revolt, She Said.

julia kristeva dominant / residual / emergent Raymond Williams defined and discussed these concepts

201 extremism in various parts of the world is another instance of residual forms challenging the Hegemony of liberal Western capitalism. Indeed, it could be argued that all ethnic and religious identities are constructed through the process of keeping residual forms alive, expressing Structures of feeling which the dominant culture denies or represses. Emergent cultures also develop in relation to dominant formations, and in practice it can be difficult to draw a clear line between residual and emergent forms, for both often consist of private or marginalized spheres of experience which the dominant culture initially fails to acknowledge or recognize. For example, new social forces in contemporary Western society – feminism, the peace movement, and green politics – challenge both the dominant culture and residual oppositional forms such as the “traditional” labour movement, yet may themselves base their identities on selective traditions, or on residual notions of nature. Williams stresses that the dominant culture is itself dependent on incorporating aspects of emergent forms to maintain its legitimacy and hegemony, and that it is often difficult to distinguish between what is genuinely emergent and what is merely novel. The assimilation of subcultural and subversive styles and fashions into mainstream culture is one example of such incorporation. Another is the way in which critical movements, such as poststructuralism, initially an emergent trend in opposition to a residual/dominant literary Canon, have now become a new dominant literary institution. See also Structure of feeling; Williams, Raymond.

Reading Williams, Raymond 1961: The Long Revolution. —— 1977: Marxism and Literature. —— 1979: “Base and superstructure in Marxist cultural theory.”

jenny bourne taylor

double-consciousness A term central to Black cultural studies, which was first articulated by W.E.B. Du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk (1903). Expressing the acute disenchantment of black intellectuals with post-Reconstruction American society, Du Bois argued that all black


explicitly in Marxism and Literature (1977), though similar ideas about cultural power relationships and the processes of change can be traced back to Culture and Society (1958). His argument that a culture is composed of a set of relations between dominant, residual, and emergent forms is a way of emphasizing the uneven and dynamic quality of any particular moment. It represents a shift away from more monumental epochal analyses of history in the manner of Hegel and Lukács, where periods or stages of history succeed one another and each epoch is characterized by a dominant mode or spirit of the times. Williams argued that it is possible to make general distinctions between different periods of history based on modes of production between “feudal” and “bourgeois,” for example, or “capitalist” and “late capitalist.” However, he pointed out that these dominant formations are in themselves too broad and need to be further broken down into differentiated moments. Moreover, each epoch not only consists of different variations and stages, but at every point is also composed of a process of dynamic, contradictory relationships in the interplay of dominant, residual, and emergent forms. This opens up a space to analyze the role that subversive and oppositional identities and movements play within the dominant culture, and how effective they might be in shifting it. Neither residual nor emergent forms simply exist within or alongside the dominant culture. They operate in a process of continual tension, which can take the form of both incorporation and opposition within it. Residual forms are different from archaic ones in that they are still alive, they have use and relevance within contemporary culture. They represent a previous institution or tradition which is still active as a memory in the present, and thus can both bolster the dominant culture or provide the resources for an alternative or opposition to it. In Britain the monarchy could be seen as a residual institution that is gradually being perceived as archaic within popular discourse as it loses its cultural legitimacy. Conversely, the current ethnic and nationalist conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Republics can be seen as an example of residual identities challenging and overturning former dominant ones, though not in progressive ways. The rise of religious

Douglas, Mary Tew

202 Americans suffer from a sense of doubleconsciousness, or conflict between their black and American cultural identities. Caused by the enforced exclusion of blacks from mainstream American society at the turn of the century, this self-division obstructs the development of authentic self-consciousness, for it compels black Americans to regard and evaluate their black identities through the lens of the dominant white culture. Although Du Bois’s formulation of this dilemma has been criticized (for reflecting a sense of cultural Alienation produced by Du Bois’s intellectual training at elite American educational institutions), the concept of double-consciousness has continued to resonate and exert considerable analytical power in contemporary discussions of the mixed cultural identity of Afro-Americans.

Reading Du Bois, W.E.B. 1903 (1969): The Souls of Black Folk.

madhu dubey

Douglas, Mary Tew (1921–2007) British social anthropologist. She is known for her studies of religion and symbolism, pollution and moral order, her ethnography of the Lele of the Kasai, and for Group/grid analysis. She was one of the leaders of neostructuralism in British anthropology in the 1960s, along with Edmund Leach, Rodney Needham, and Victor Turner. This Paradigm meant a shift away from the previous focus on norms and actions to an interest in symbolic systems. Mary Douglas derived her interest in the sociology of religion from her education at the Sacred Heart Convent in Roehampton. She subsequently studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford, and then developed an interest in Africa and in anthropology during her job in the Colonial Office 1943–6. She took a BSc in anthropology in Oxford in 1948, where she studied with Evans-Pritchard. She did fieldwork in Zaire (then the Belgian Congo) 1949–50 and again in 1953, and received her PhD in 1951. Her dissertation, published as The Lele of the Kasai, has become a classic of ethnography. In the course of a distinguished academic career, she has authored many books and articles, and coauthored or edited others. She taught for many years at the University of London, retiring with a full professorship in 1978. In 1977 she

moved to the United States, serving as resident scholar and director at the Russell Sage Foundation, then teaching at Northwestern University till 1985, and at Princeton till 1988. Douglas’s studies of pollution brought her original fame. In Purity and Danger she investigates rituals of purity and impurity, analyzes the significance of dirt and cleanliness in daily life, and examines the social basis for pollution beliefs. She is interested in looking at boundaries and their ritual affirmation. In Natural Symbols and some of her other writings, she links Culture and society and relates social organization to cosmology. In her symbolic analysis, she focuses less on the meaning of Symbols than on their patterns and Structures and the relations between them. Her investigations of the nature of classification systems have led to other concerns, such as the study of food as the means to decode systems of social information. She shows that the choices people make about what they eat and how they prepare and present food reflect the organization of social life. Menus can be looked at in terms of categories and opposites: meals contrast with drinks, solids with liquids. In this way the structure of meals can be likened to the structure of myths. She is also known for her methodology of Group/grid analysis for classifying social relations in order to compare different cultures and their social organization. Her more recent work moves to a broader examination of contemporary society, contrasting modern culture with its predecessors and discussing its evolution. Among her coauthored books, The World of Goods investigates the communicative role of economic goods, and the ways individuals reaffirm status through consumption. Another investigates pollution in American industrial society and the growth of the environmental protection movement. See also Group/grid.

Reading Douglas, Mary T. 1963: The Lele of the Kasai. —— 1966 (1985): Purity and Danger. —— 1970 (1973): Natural Symbols. —— and Isherwood, B. 1979: The World of Goods.

janet macgaffey

dream-work A generic term in psychoanalysis referring to all those operations which transform


Reading Freud, Sigmund 1900: The Intepretation of Dreams. —— 1901b: “On dreams.”

david macey

Durkheim, Emile (1858–1917) French social theorist. Recently a friend and I were hiking along a well-established trail in a state park. At the trail-head a sign announced that the trail was restricted to hikers and that no bicycles were allowed. Further on we encountered a couple of youngsters tearing along on bicycles. My friend shouted out that bicycles were not allowed. The cyclists looked sheepish and rode on. My friend’s protest nicely illustrates the collective consciousness, a central concept around which Emile Durkheim built much of his theory of society. Emile Durkheim clearly ranks among the foremost social theorists of all time for both sociology and anthropology. Writing and teaching at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Durkheim succeeded in focusing both fields centrally on group-level social phenomena – social institutions and culture

respectively – and in providing both fields with a firm self-identity as a science with practical applications. These ideas had occurred to earlier writers, but Durkheim had global influence owing to the elegance of his analysis, the brilliance of his writing and lecturing, the breadth of his scholarship, and his lifelong commitment to reshaping social investigation into a new scholarly enterprise. Son of a long line of Jewish rabbis, Durkheim himself initially planned to study for the rabbinate. These expectations were put aside, however, as his studies moved to philosophy, metaphysics, and other subjects. He sought admission to the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure, preparing for a career as a teacher, and was admitted. There he was influenced particularly by the philosopher Boutroux, noted for his critiques of scientific argumentation, and by the historian Foustel de Coulanges, whose focus on the development of social forms became his own. The writing of Comte and Spencer provided much of the specific body of social thought upon which Durkheim was to construct his own sociology. While he disagreed with Comte’s view in many respects, Durkheim took from Comte the proposition that society could be analyzed by the methods of science (Comte proposed the term “sociology” for this), and that the conclusions could be used to construct an improved society. He was also to disagree sharply with Spencer, but he adopted Spencer’s general evolutionary scheme for social progress, and Spencer’s assumption that societies were organized as social Systems. Durkheim proposed a new conception of the relationship between individuals and their society. Here he disagreed with Comte, who, with many others, assumed that social consensus and loyalty were the summation of the sentiments of the member individuals and that society as an aggregation derived from individuals. This necessarily led to the conclusion that social norms have to be taken into account as a reflection of interests individuals have in common. Psychological, biological, and economic incentives were among the sources examined for laws, customs, and values held in common. Durkheim argued, on the other hand, that society constituted a separate level of reality. Societies were social systems that had their own imperatives, especially to maintain a working whole. To a large extent, the attitudes and interests of individuals stem from

Durkheim, Emile

the raw materials of a dream (classically defined as a form of wish fulfillment) into its Manifest content. The raw material of a dream may include dream-thoughts, physical stimuli, childhood memories, allusions to the Transference situation and the day’s residues, or in other words, elements from the waking life of the previous day that appear in the dream. The principal operations of the dream-work are Condensation/ displacement and secondary revision; it is also governed by conditions of representability. Secondary revision rearranges the dream in such a way as to generate a relatively consistent and coherent scenario; conditions of representability govern the selection and transformation of dream-thoughts into visual images. The overall effect of the dream-work is distortion: although the manifest content is relatively coherent, it is difficult to recognize the latent elements contained within it. The latent content of a dream can be recovered only through interpretation. Freud (1900; 1901) stresses that the dream-work is not a creative process, but one which merely transforms material. It is the dream-work and not the Latent content that is the essence of the dream.

Durkheim, Emile

204 the society in which they live. Thus social patterns can be analyzed quite apart from the psychological, economic, and personal characteristics of individuals. To analyze social systems Durkheim proposed two conceptual tools. The first was the “social fact.” Durkheim did not argue that social facts were empirical objects, as he is sometimes misread, but an intellectual device allowing scientific methods of investigation to be applied to social phenomena. The key criterion of a social fact was that it had “coercive effect” over individuals. Where that was true, Durkheim argued, analysis could proceed as thought it were a real object. When my friend admonished the cyclists, she illustrated the second of Durkheim’s conceptual tools, collective conscience. Durkheim proposed that the social identity of individuals transcends the aggregate of individual interests and psychologies. Comprising both intellectual and moral dimensions, the collective conscience links individuals to the social systems, shapes their desires, conforms their behavior to the common good, and follows its own path of development. Durkheim invested much effort in studying societies of different types, a cross-cultural enterprise that brought his work to the attention of anthropologists. He discerned that the solidarity of a social system was differently constituted for small, traditional societies compared with large, complex ones. In small societies individuals shared similar bodies of information and interests, and performed similar roles in society. Sanctions in these societies were geared to ensuring conformity. Using a term that has confused readers for generations, Durkheim called this form of solidarity “mechanical solidarity.” When populations grew larger and societies more densely settled, a necessary division of labor developed and the social system was integrated around complementary roles for individuals. Using an organismic model, Durkheim termed the basis of these systems “organic solidarity,” where groups of individuals would have different interests and sectors of the system would function in

complementary ways. Law in these societies was “restitutive,” functioning to ensure that the interdependencies of distinct sectors remained viable. Among his many published writings, three books are central. In Division of Labor (1893) he set out most of his analysis of society. In Suicide (1897) he shows that what seems to be an entirely individual-based event is demonstrably a predictable response to social, systematic factors. In Elementary Forms of the Religion Life (1912) Durkheim points to the focal place that religion plays in maintaining the social system and solidarity of individuals. This book, situated in a case analysis of Australian Totemism, is the culmination of Durkheim’s life-long analytical enterprise and his most complex analysis. Taken together, his works strongly influenced many who succeeded him. Among those who developed major bodies of theory upon a foundation of Durkheim’s work are, notably, Talcott Parsons in sociology, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown and Claude Lévistrauss in anthropology, and Marcel Mauss who straddled both fields. Emile Durkheim has been accused of blocking the proper exploration of psychological, historical, and economic factors, and the role of the individual in shaping society. In truth, however, social science is built around an interplay of system-level analysis and individual, external factors. For both sociology and anthropology Durkheim is the anchor point for system-based explanations and the classic statement of the concomitants of that approach.

Reading Durkheim, Emile (1893) (1984): The Division of Labor in Society. —— (1895) (1938): Rules of Sociological Method. —— (1897) (1951): Suicide. —— (1912) (1968): The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Harris, Marvin 1968: The Rise of Anthropological Theory. Lowie, Robert H. 1937: The History of Ethnological Theory. Thompson, Kenneth 1982: Emile Durkheim.

thomas c. greaves

205 ecocriticism


Eagleton, Terry (1943–) British critic, novelist, and playwright. Terry Eagleton is doubtless the most widely read Marxist critic now writing in English. He appears to have systematically and successfully defied the usual social and professional British class boundaries in a way that has contributed to his work. His many publications include a number of small pamphlet-size books – such as Criticism and Ideology (1976), Marxism and Literary Criticism (1976), The Function of Criticism (1984), and The Significance of Theory (1990) – which have all reached a wide audience. But he has also written several more detailed books for what is still a substantial readership. These include Walter Benjamin (1981), Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), and Ideology of the Aesthetic (1990). In his inaugural lecture as Warton Professor, Eagleton (1993, p. 19) repeated a note that he has sounded throughout all of his recent criticism: If . . . everything just goes on as it is, English studies can abandon an illusion that they have anything of significance to say to those outside the charmed circle of academia. And if this comes about, then it will represent a profound betrayal of their own finest traditions. For all the greatest moments of English criticism . . . have been points at which, in speaking of the literary work, criticism has found itself unavoidably speaking of more than it – found itself, indeed,

mapping the deep structures and central directions of an entire culture.

His commitment is clearly to the transformative powers of critical literary study.

Reading Eagleton, Terry 1983: Literary Theory: An Introduction. —— 1990: The Significance of Theory. —— 1993: The Crisis of Contemporary Culture.

michael payne ecocriticism Ecocriticism, also known as literary ecology or environmental literary studies, is a field of criticism that emerged in the late twentieth century as a slightly delayed response in the humanities to the global emergence of the environmental movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Together with environmental philosophy and environmental history, and to some extent studies of place, space, and landscape, it forms the core of what in the early twenty-first century is an emerging cross-disciplinary field of environmental humanities. That spectrum of studies subverts twentieth-century paradigms of discrete liberal arts institutional divisions, in resistance to the growth of more quantitative-based professional and interdisciplinary programs in policy, planning, and environmental sciences. As such, while ecocriticism may seem a bridge between the “two cultures” of academia, it can in some ways also


206 represent an attempted resurgence of a qualitative tradition of liberal arts, based often in an implicit critique of scientific complicity in massive degradation of the world’s physical environment during the past two centuries. Lawrence Buell of Harvard, a leading senior scholar in the field, at a 2009 conference on “Environmental Imaginations” at Susquehanna University, defined ecocriticism in general terms as up-ending a traditional quasi-Aristotelian fourfold framework for reading literature (plot, characterization, theme and setting) by refocusing it around setting, the element most often neglected in Western criticism. Yet Buell and others in their writings also make clear how ecocriticism does this richly through probing the relation between physical and social contexts and text as a continuum of textual setting, while often drawing on a complex definition of “nature” in debt to Martin Heidegger’s view of phusis as that which both appears and hides simultaneously. This is often done to subversively re-read power relations in stories by interweaving contexts and setting. In the primary ecocritical journal ISLE (which in 2009 became housed at Oxford University Press, symbolizing growing scholarly recognition of the field), and elsewhere, practitioners have moved beyond a first wave of criticism related closely to the late twentieth-century philosophical movements of deep ecology (as developed by Arne Naess) and ecofeminism (articulated by Val Plumwood). Increasingly ecocriticism, while often still connected to those roots, attempts to build complex engagements of texts with concerns of environmental social justice, neocolonialism/ globalization, and “posthumanities”/“postnature” studies. These involve an increasingly diverse array of literatures ranging beyond the field’s initially heavy North Atlantic and Western US focus on English Romanticism, American Transcendentalism, twentieth-century Anglo-American nature writing, and American Indian literature. In the process, ecocritics continue efforts to develop their field as a theoretical approach as well as a way of reading, focusing on setting as a pretext for studying the interplay of environmental and social contexts, including how texts themselves can be understood as serving an environmental function in human development and exploitation of the world and other beings. In this sense, in a

much more sophisticated way than understood by some of its critics, ecocriticism has begun to explore comprehensively issues of how text and the subjectivity of both author and reader can be seen as emerging in a kind of “nature-text.” Ecocritics at gatherings such as the biennial North American conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE, which sponsors ISLE), increasingly are looking at environmental phenomenology and semiotic studies based in Charles Peirce’s sign theory, as well as into globalization studies under the “eco-cosmopolitanism” banner of Stanford’s Ursula Heise (a rising star in the movement), seen in her field-redefining book Sense of Place, Sense of Planet (2008). Nonetheless the current financial collapse of neoliberal globalization and challenges to higher education’s own “bubble” likely will reinvigorate localist and regionalist approaches, rooted in Wendell Berry’s “new agrarianism” and the sustainable economics of philosophers such as E.F. Schumacher, tracing back to Heidegger’s environmental writings on region. In trying to steer clear of allegations of ecofascism in their localist tendencies, such approaches will likely intensify efforts to articulate an “ecopoetics” engaging developments in neuroscience with environmental phenomenology, as in the writings of Toronto philosopher Evan Thompson, linking also to work on ecosemiotics emanating from Tartu University. Through such efforts, some ecocritics see their field contributing significantly to redefining critical theory in a “post-theory” era, through a literal grounding of theory across previous abstracting of humanities from the sciences. But in any case the field’s concern with placing cultural and social narratives of what is “natural” at the center of interpretation has opened significant opportunities for modern Western criticism to engage less condescendingly with “pansemiotic” nature-texts and art from indigenous and premodern cultures, which regard nature itself as a system of signs with its own semiotics apart from conceptualized codes of human sciences. Recent interest by environmental activists and organizations in the relevance of cultural imagination, narratives, and storytelling to realizing the inherent value of non-human being and ensuring human care for a region (for example,

207 Buell in his foundational The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture (1995) developed a set of criteria for identifying texts that cue the reader into a more “ecocentric” or nature-centered literary experience. The use of such criteria reflects the influence of Phenomenology on Readerreception theory, while also embracing explanations of such cues based in Postcolonial/ neocolonial theory and New historicism, building on work on literary and cultural landscape by figures such as Raymond Williams, W.J.T. Mitchell, and (in terms of the simulacra-landscape of global capitalism) the Deleuze-influenced team of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. As picked up by the “second wave” of ecocriticism, such analyses of power relations in connection with textual shapings and reflections of nature extend ecocritical analysis into areas beyond Euroamerican- and North American-centered textual traditions, to work on Caribbean, African, Asian, and African-American cultures, including, for example, ecocritical study of the works of Toni Morrison. The 2009 ASLE Book Award for Ecocriticism was awarded to Paul Outka for his book Race and Nature from Transcendentalism to the Harlem Renaissance (2008), which addresses interconnections of race and nature. Outka’s study discusses the sublime and race, related to transcendentalism, abolitionism, and the pastoral, within contexts of slavery, reconstruction, “Strange Fruit,” and white flight. Typical of the field, the book uses a mix of theoretical approaches with a strong historical context, exemplifying in the words of one reviewer how ecocriticism can “begin to embrace the true complexity of the American landscape.” Place-centered phenomenologically based work by the geographer Yi-Fu Tuan (see Cultural landscape in a globalizing world) represents an important area of overlap between landscape studies, human geography, and concerns with normative values of sustainability in ecocriticism, implicit in the latter’s search for authentic human development, or what Naess termed a self-realization that is neither selfish nor altruistic but emergent in environmental relationships. Some ecocritics today regard notions of the “natural” as outdated in explorations of “posthumanities,” as in the related emerging fields of animal studies and cyborg theory. But a dynamic


the Conservation Fund’s interest in the development of designated historic corridors around the Chesapeake Bay) ensures expanding support for ecocritical approaches in the foreseeable future. This is counteracted, however, by fundamental tensions within environmental studies between quantitative and qualitative approaches, and the unsure footing of ecocriticism in conventional departmental and divisional categories of the academy. An example of ecocritical analysis in its fairly new extension to non-modern literatures highlights the contrast between early Irish and Anglo-Saxon views of an ancestral spiritual Otherworld in nature, and hence the relation of human societies to the physical world and cultural constructions of human subjectivity and the “natural” (Siewers, 2009). In Beowulf, the natural world of the Grendelcyn’s mere is a place described in terms borrowed from hellish religious allegory. The inhabitants of this natural realm are human descendants of Cain but also monsters, probably identifiable to Anglo-Saxon audiences with nonGermanic native inhabitants of Britain. The hero Beowulf becomes well defined as a teleological individual in opposition to monsters of the wetlands and earlier of the sea. By contrast, in the perhaps roughly contemporary Immram Brain, or The Voyage of Bran, an early Irish narrative portrays the sea as an otherworldly realm both contiguous with Ireland (and overlapping it through other elemental and topographical interactions expressed in various early Irish texts) and in a sense encompassing it, with a respected mode of time of its own different from human concerns. Bran’s engagement with the external environment shapes his figure in the story, rather than his opposition to it. Such analysis engages in a focus on setting that morphs into historical, social, source-study, and philological contextualization, examining differing colonial, racial, and theological situations of alternative early Christian literary cultures. It suggests how certain textual traditions such as that of Immram Brain can highlight a non-allegorical and iconographic view of desire, selfhood, and symbolism, essentially a “non-Western” view (by later standards), in which desire is relational rather than a condition of lack, following on the “geophilosophy” of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, which also informs aspects of ecocritical theorizing.


208 sense of nature in which the human is implicated (a “real” with which, however apophatically, the embodied human mind must come to terms at least in relation to social ethics and mortality) remains a strong element of most ecocritical projects, related to continuing activist connections of the field, its engagement with indigenous and now premodern traditions, and its connections with phenomenology. In part this has been addressed through a phenomenological sensibility in line with Heidegger’s observation that what we see often is in a sense our ideas, an actual that is not real. To achieve a paradoxically “virtual real” involves trying to establish a more personal and experiential sense of reality apart from more abstract theoretical constructs of Western Scholasticism and modernity, and this is achievable through certain types and approaches of narrative. Erazim Kohák’s The Embers and the Stars (1984), from what is sometimes called the Czech school of phenomenology, articulates an early ecocritical quest for human realization in nature. Its phenomenological exegesis (and ultimate normative embrace) of the Jewish biblical text of the Ten Commandments in environmental terms parallels some ecocritical ethical concerns with deep ecological notions of self-realization in the environment. Works of Edward S. Casey mark a more comprehensive application of phenomenology to environmental concerns, considering (in terms of place) writings by critical theorists including Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray. Casey defines place by extending Heidegger’s fourfold into a “happening” intersection of cosmology and cosmogony in personal experience. Place-landscape is a regional field of such narrative intersections. Irigaray’s elemental sense of a double-folded femaleness as the basis of such a landscape, both contained and containing, provides an alternative to the modern generic universal grid of “space,” cognitively controlled and interiorized by the human mind. Casey’s gloss of Irigaray provides another significant analogue-basis for ecocritical theory. They share parallel concerns with place as a relational mode of life threatened by modern constructions of space emerging from a paradoxical merger of the transcendent and the interiorized in the anthropology of modern science. Casey’s explicating of active and passive memory in relation to experience of time highlights the

importance of textual highlighting of multiplicitous and simultaneous modes of temporality in “ecocentric” texts, exemplified in the American Indian writer Linda Hogan’s novel Solar Storms. Active memory involves an experience of multiple temporal realities, rather than Augustine’s “eternal present” possessed by the transcendental subject. Narratives such as Hogan’s that highlight dynamic boundaries of human and non-human temporalities of time and non-time, and overlapping diverse cultural and personal temporalities within human experience, exhibit what ecophenomenologist David Wood (in his essay “What is eco-phenomenology?” in the collection Eco-Phenomenology; Brown and Toadvine, 2003) calls “time-plexity.” In certain ways this notion of time-plexity parallels premodern or non-modern experiences of time, such as the early-medieval/ patristic sense of simultaneous entwined layers of human social time, non-human natural cycles of time, the eternal time of non-corporeal and spiritual but created beings (such as angels and demons), and the everlasting uncreated “nontime” of divinity. In such time-plexity, human narrative control or possession of an objectified nature is impossible. In Hogan’s twentiethcentury fiction, the reality of Indian family and cultural memories form a different temporality from that of the linear time of whites, which ignores also cycles of natural time and a temporality of a spiritual realm entwined with it and traditions. Attentiveness to that time-plexity in the novel empowers resistance to corporate cultural and environmental domination through imaginative revival of engagement with alternative indigenous traditions that enables activism. Nor is such non-modern time-plexity confined to indigenous writings of the past century. Peter Hallward in his critique of Deleuze and Guattari notes the surprising affinity between their notion of “bodies without organs” or a virtual real (desire as relational rather than objectifying), and views of nature as theophanic in the work of the early Irish patristic writer John Scottus Eriugena, whose definition of nature as including non-being and the divine articulates a worldview in sync with Celtic stories of the Otherworld that formed a basis for what Northrop Frye called the “green world” of later English literature, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

209 towards renewed examination of the human being as in effect a psychosomatic and “extraorganismic” ecosystem. Ramifications of this for textual studies in the unfolding first half of the twenty-first century are likely to involve increased explorations of possible connections of ecocritical theory to multidimensional frames of physics from quantum mechanics to the anthropic principle. But at the moment perhaps the most fertile field for new development of ecocritical theory lies in its potential relations with ecosemiotics, an offshoot of the also-young field of biosemiotics, which has been centered mainly to date in a few European universities, notably the former-Soviet and now-Estonian semiotic studies center of Tartu. Ecosemiotics looks at the cultural aspects of signs as an environmental phenomenon. As such it focuses on Peirce’s concern with the relations of the sign to both object (environment) and meaning (formation of both writer and author in the text). Wendy Wheeler’s The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics, and the Evolution of Culture (2006) provides a good introduction, but articles by Winfried Nöth, Kalevi Kull, and Timo Maran are foundational. From a longue durée perspective, the developing field of ecocriticism highlights the potential both for further reassessment of Western intellectual and social history in a global context, and for new coalitions on environmental and related issues between different non-modern worldviews globally. Through its distinctive focus and meld of theoretical approaches, ecocriticism suggests that the great watershed in the construction of nature by Western culture was neither so much the Renaissance nor the spread of Christianity, but the normatizing of a reality of individual human interiority from the twelfth-century Renaissance onward. In developments of the era of the Crusades and Scholasticism, it suggests, lie the emergence of what became global modernity, which can be seen as having a more direct complicity than previously often assumed with the medieval in Western European culture as the latter morphed into global capitalism and scientism.

Reading Brown, C.S. and Toadvine, T., eds 2003: EcoPhenomenology: Back to the Earth Itself.


A static ecological sense of climax communities as a normative basis for literary ecology is at odds with emphases of science in the later twentieth century, and this has spurred the search for an understanding of relational dynamics as supporting the ethical framework that remains an important strand in ecocriticism. In this the importance of time-plexity is related to notions of environmental empathy as narrative ecopoesis (Thompson, 2007). Ecopoesis in ecophenomenology can be understood as a type of cultural textuality in which the autopoesis of the individual’s shaping of environment becomes linked developmentally into a broader empathetic sense of dynamic ecosystem within larger contexts. Ecopoesis (sometimes spelled ecopoiesis) as a literal shaping of ecosystems in this sense can be defined in terms of both the role of narratives (as in how Enlightenment texts shaped the rightangled property landscape of the central portion of North America today, via Thomas Jefferson’s writings), and processes of physical shaping of ecosystems through scientifically inspired efforts such as ecological restoration, which often rely on early texts about landscape. The very term ecopoesis evokes the recognition in ecocriticism of the biological role of human beings as storytelling and poetic beings, or “mythopoetic subcreators” as put by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien’s popular fiction, in its central depiction of nature stemming from mid-twentieth-century social contexts, highlights yet another focus of contemporary ecocriticism, which increasingly includes fantasy and science fiction genres and an expanded definition of texts to include categories such as anime and virtual-reality media. Although many ecocritics have embraced evolutionary theory wholeheartedly in their approach to narrative as human environmental adaptation, resistance to hegemonic Darwinism or NeoDarwinism as both anthropocentric and ethnocentric is also reflected in the field, echoing Gregory Bateson’s comment that rather than focusing on the organism versus the environment, ecological cultural studies needed to focus on the organism within the environment (related to Thompson’s “neurophenomenological” notion of environmental empathy and the role of ecopoesis). Such emphases place aspects of ecocriticism potentially in line with Thompson’s critique of Richard Dawkins’s “genocentrism,” in a trend


210 Buell, L. 1995: The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Casey, E.S. 1997: The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History. Glotfelty, C and Fromm, H., eds 1996: The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Heise, U. 2008: Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global. Kohak, E. 1984: The Embers and the Stars: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Moral Sense of Nature. Outka, P. 2008: Race and Nature from Transcendentalism to the Harlem Renaissance. Siewers, A.K. 2009: Strange Beauty: Ecocritical Approaches to Early Medieval Landscape. Thompson, E. 2007: Mind in Life: Body, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Life. Wheeler, W. 2006: The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and the Evolution of Culture.

alfred k. siewers

ecology The term “ecology” is rooted in the Greek word oikos. In pre-Socratic thought this term is defined as “the whole house,” that is, the unity of nature and the sciences. Nature was understood to be permeated by the mind and was, therefore, thought to be alive, intelligent, and rational. Moreover, nature (animals, plants, etc.) was held to participate in the intellectual development of the world. Humans were a part of this nature and had no intention to dominate or control. Nature was in a state of totality, developing in a cycle in which all things were related to and dependent on each other. Despite the constant challenge by theology, this totality of nature formed and remained the basic economic and social structure for all agrarian societies throughout the Middle Ages. The Alienation of humankind from nature first entered a critical stage during the age of European bourgeois Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. The result was the advancement of the principles of the market economy and technology, both theoretically based on “objective-scientific” methodology. Bourgeois liberation from feudal suppression began in England and France as early as the late seventeenth century. These developments were based partly on a positive view of nature in which the bourgeoisie saw itself as the dynamic class, capable of changing society. This evolutionary process also led to the recognition of the Great

Chain of Being, which should never be broken, as Alexander Pope wrote in his Essay on Man (1735). Such ecological insights were reflected in two major changes after 1750 which were based on the slogan of the impending French Revolution: “liberty, equality, fraternity.” Baroque garden concepts were replaced with principles based on the ideal of nature, and a first attempt was made to establish animal rights. Gardens and garden concepts must be understood as a reaction to the massive clearcutting of forests in France in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The attempt to redefine the relation between nature, Culture, and society invoked the hope for the possibility of humans recognizing themselves as a part of the order in nature. Humans should find their place in nature as in a garden, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and others stressed in their writings. The garden was understood to be an ideal landscape in which interventions into nature and its suppression by humans should not be visible; the landscape reflected the multiplicity, the simplicity, and thus the totality of nature. Based on such concepts, gardens were thought to convey the meaning of liberty, thereby enabling humans to place themselves within the quietness and the harmony of nature. In addition, revolutionaries such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Morelly combined the economic use of forests with political freedom from an ecological perspective. Liberty trees were special Symbols at public celebrations of the revolution. These trees represented the cycle of nature and were to function as a guide for a society within nature. A very special liberty tree was the oak tree, which mirrored the overcoming of societal resistance by nature. Accordingly, all local trees were seen as symbolizing the principle of equality, while exotic trees illustrated the principle of brotherhood. In order to move such ideal concepts into a more practical realm, newly wedded couples were first to plant 100 trees and thereby prove their responsibility for the future of society. In addition, programs for the reforestation of large areas were also supposed to contribute to the welfare of the public and to correct the destructive forces of clearcutting. The goal of all these activities and plans was to overcome the contrasts between the City and the countryside and change France into a big garden city. On the

211 Such descriptions, however insightful, had no impact on overall economic developments. More successful were animal rights activists, including writers and philosophers such as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Jean-Antoine Gleizès, and Arthur Schopenhauer. Several “vegetarian societies” were founded in England and France in the early nineteenth century and several laws were passed prohibiting cruelty to animals. These attempts finally reached a broader public toward the end of the nineteenth century when such well-known individuals as John Ruskin, Robert Browning, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Richard Wagner, Charles Darwin, Henry S. Salt, and H.G. Wells protested against vivisection or wrote books and essays in which they embraced vegetarianism. Within the political and economic development of the bourgeoisie a renewed interest in ecological concepts unfolded in Germany, England, and the United States around 1850. Such perceptions were noted in the works of Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl (Natural History of the German People, 1851–69), Charles Darwin (On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 1859), and George Perkins Marsh (Man and Nature, 1864). While Riehl hoped to stop the process of industrialization and urbanization by recommending a return to an agrarian-feudalist society, March, noting the degree of pollution and destruction of the East Coast of the United States, argued for a government-organized, rational approach to natural resources. Darwin, on the other hand, was hoping for a predominance of altruism over egotistic desires. His book, however, was understood mostly and especially by social Darwinists as an interpretation of the principles of market economy, competition, and progress. Equally well known were the concepts of monism, based on both Darwin’s evolutionism and a romantic pantheism. The German monist intellectual Ernst Haeckel became world famous and in his General Morphology of Organisms (1866) was the first to define ecology as the various relations of animals and plants to one another and to the outer world. Industrialization and urbanization in the nineteenth century in Europe and North America similarly led to ecological insights among the theoreticians of socialism. While Karl Marx had


one hand this city was to reflect valuable artwork within the concepts of revolutionary art determined by its usefulness; on the other hand the beauty of the garden city was to be enhanced by landscaping and parks. Such architectural concepts, as well as the lifestyle that was to be realized in this city, were seen as ecological. Furthermore, it was hoped that such concepts would spread revolutionary goals to the countryside. In the same manner that revolutionaries rejected aristocratic luxury parks as parasitic, antisocial, and destructive; they also argued for the equality of all animals. In order to regain the liberty and dignity of animals caged in by the ruling class, the notion of usefulness was stressed again. Since animals experienced the same pain and the same suffering as humans, animals had to become their true partners. The general admiration for animals culminated in the demand that animals were to be kept in open-air enclosures. In England liberal voices were raised postulating equal rights not only for pets but for all animals, for example, in On the Duty of Mercy and Sin of Cruelty to Brute Animals (1761) by Humphrey Primatt and The Cry of Nature, or An Appeal to Mercy and Justice on Behalf of the Persecuted Animals (1797) by John Oswald. Some even went so far as to regard the hunting, slaughtering, and eating of animals as cannibalism. However, these ecological concepts failed. Instead, the principles of a “free market economy” described by Adam Smith in his book Enquiry on the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) prospered. Thus ecological concepts moved to the background at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the bourgeoisie saw liberation into capitalism as its primary goal. Enlightenment concepts in regard to nature were still found in works by Alexander von Humboldt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. In Views of Nature (1808) Humboldt vividly described the unity of nature on the American continent, commenting on the abundance of animals and plants in their geographical, geological, and biological variety, and stressing the pristine character of nature still untouched by economic developments. Despite the obvious religious implications in such works, nature was presented in the form of an ecological totality, which would enable humankind to return to a primordial state.


212 praised capitalism as the only revolutionary force within modern developments in the 1840s, he later had doubts about the capitalist means of production when he noticed the economic and social conditions in England in the 1850s and 1860s. In Capital (1867) he wrote that capitalism constituted the overexploitation not only of the worker but also of natural resources. Consequently, he saw the circulation of matter between the soil and humans as the only possibility for a lasting fertility of the soil and nature in general. In his opinion, capitalist production developed the technology and the combination of a variety of social processes only to exploit all original sources of wealth: the soil and the laborer. Along the same lines, Friedrich Engels wrote in his Dialectics of Nature (1871 (1973)) that every victory over nature at the same time meant a loss with unforeseeable and unknown consequences. While Marx and Engels did not speculate about the future of socialism, other artists and writers such as Peter Kropotkin and William Morris did. Kropotkin’s Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow (1899) was based on the notion of anarchism to establish an ecological future, and served as a practical model for North American and European communists and anarchosyndicalists such as Gustav Landauer, Bertrand Russell, and Heinrich Vogeler well into the 1920s. Morris, on the other hand, in his novel News from Nowhere (1890), designed a blueprint of an ideal socialist society free of all class differences as well as all forms of exploitation. Morris’s concept of ecology was most striking in his definition of beauty, which he understood as the most powerful and most positive tool against the ugliness of planned obsolescence in consumer society. In the United States, which by the early 1880s after a period of unleashed economic growth had replaced England as the largest industrial power, individuals such as John Muir noted the effects of economic “progress” on nature. In his most popular book, Our National Parks (1901), in which he paid tribute to Emerson, Thoreau, and Charles Sprague Sargent, he wrote that, while the beauty of nature still existed, it was also extremely endangered by industrialization, urbanization, and farming. To overcome the devastation caused by the utilitarian forces of the industry, Muir argued for a government-organized administration

of the forests, as well as for the preservation of nature within the National Park System, which had been established in 1872. However, Muir’s strong religious worshipping of nature prevented the public from understanding the political implications of his recommendations. While William Morris, like many utopian thinkers around 1900, saw socialism as the only political force which would enable the coherence of social interchange prescribed by the natural laws of life, the German petty bourgeois Heimatschutz (“protection of homeland”) movement must be understood as a reaction against both socialism and capitalism. Between 1880 and 1914 teachers, authors, and civil servants published a large number of essays and books that described vividly the consequences of rapid industrialization and urbanization in Germany: widespread pollution of water and air, the clearcutting of forests, and the devastation caused by tourism and billboards. When the Heimatschutz organization was founded in 1904 it demanded the institutionalization of a national park system modelled after that of the United States. Moreover, its goals included the protection of the German homeland in its natural and historical environment, the preservation of flora and fauna, as well as local architecture. However, Heimatschutz activists hoped that the polluting and exploitative system could be overcome simply by “good intentions.” Despite their outreach, which led to international conferences in Paris (1909) and Stuttgart (1912) in which almost all European countries and Japan participated, their fight remained ineffective. The examination of ecological concepts during the era of European fascism, and especially National Socialism in Germany, is somewhat problematic. While coalitions of fascist parties with bourgeois governments were the rule in almost all European countries in the 1920s and 1930s, it was only the Nazis who seem to have expressed certain environmental concerns. Indeed, the Nazis adopted some ideas of the petty bourgeois Heimatschutz movement, the life reform movements from around 1900, and the settlers movement from the 1920s, all of which they regarded as precursors to volkish Ideology. The leading theoretician was Richard Walter Darré, who became Minister for Agriculture in 1933. His goal was to develop Germany into a healthy peasant state, built on a biologically dynamic

213 (1970) drew more and more attention to the pollution of soil, water, and air, population growth, and the merciless eradication of wild animals and plants. The slogan “biology or death” reached widespread popularity when the mass media repeatedly reported on chemical warfare in Vietnam and publicized environmental catastrophes such as the oil spills caused by the tanker Torrey Canyon off the British coast in 1967 and the blowout of the oil platform off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. Among the first to adopt the term “ecology” were the hippies, who popularized slogans such as “solar energy,” “water power,” “turning on to nature,” or “survival with grace” in magazines such as The Mother Earth News. In referring to “the great refusal,” a term coined by Herbert Marcuse, the hippies did not want to participate in the destruction of nature and instead embraced the idea of the simple life. All these publications and protests contributed to the environmental campaign which Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin started in the US Senate, leading to the establishing of the semi-official “Earth Day” in 1970 and the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More than 500,000 people participated in the first “Earth Day” activities, building either on the EPA’s “ecotactics” or on recycling, a more sparing use of resources as well as the activities of the individual. It was hoped that these measures would soon allow a return to normalcy. But the doomsday shock was further reinforced by a study conducted by European industrialists and scientists, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, fostered by the “Club of Rome,” and published in 1971 under the title The Limits to Growth. The goal of this analysis was to determine the timeframe for the collapse of the economic system due to the oppositional state of diminishing natural resources and the growth of the world population. Among the recommendations were a drastic limitation on population growth, a sparing use of resources, and a radical reduction in consumerism. Since the book was translated immediately into almost all languages, it can be seen as the beginning of an unprecedented, worldwide, environmental awareness, as well as the onset of the theoretical Discourse on ecology. Moreover, the study indirectly reinforced the understanding


agriculture. Supporters of such ideas believed they had a strong ally in Adolf Hitler, who was well known for his love of animals, his vegetarianism, and his rejection of vivisection. Such inclinations, however, soon turned out to be false, since Hitler’s true goals were the creation of jobs and the development of a strong military industry. The results were renewed industrialization, massive migrations from the land to the cities, and thus large-scale environmental degradation. Even several laws which were passed between 1934 and 1936 to protect German “art, culture, and nature” were purely of a propagandistic character. More and more, National Socialism revealed itself as an ideologically incoherent system ruled by the dictatorship of the gaining and maintaining of power. Such power struggles, along with the politics of military armament and economic autarky, were diametrically opposed to any ecological concepts. None the less, the display of hypocritical laws and their vegetarianism based on Buddhist occultism severely corrupted all sincere concepts of ecology and vegetarianism in Germany. After 1945 the United States emerged as the leading economic and political power of the West. Thus it is no surprise that the interest in ecological concepts after the end of the 1939–45 war emerged first in that country. The analyses were based mostly on different experiences, namely the dust storms of the 1930s resulting from soil erosion, clearcutting and overgrazing, as well as the development of biological, chemical, and atomic weapons during the war. Scientists such as Fairfield Osborn (Our Plundered Planet, 1948) and Aldo Leopold (Sand County Almanack, 1949) were among the first to warn of diminishing natural resources and the growing world population and to outline ecological alternatives. The first book to become a bestseller was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), listed in the New York Times for 31 weeks. Carson outlined the negative effects of the use of pesticides, which contaminated the earth’s surface and would soon endanger all forms of life on the planet. In addition, books such as Barry Commoner’s Science and Survival (1963), Gary Snyder’s Earth Household (1963), Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1968), Theodore Roszak’s The Making of a Counter Culture (1968), and Barry Commoner’s The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology


214 that, in terms of pollution and exploitation of natural resources, there was little difference between a privately organized economy and an economy run by the state. The large number of publications concerning “environmental protection” caused a number of developments, starting in the 1970s. Among the first was the founding of international organizations such as Greenpeace in 1971, which protested against atomic testing, air and water pollution, as well as the killing of animals. Owing to intense media coverage, this protest reached an increasingly concerned public around the globe. In order to resist the process of constant industrialization, ecologists such as E.F. Schumacher and Murray Bookchin prescribed the concept “small is beautiful,” which aimed at a comprehensible world view within a locally defined economy, thus displaying the ecological slogan “Think globally, act locally.” A typical example for this concept was Ernest Callenbach’s novel Ecotopia (1975), a blueprint for a peaceful and ecological society that has abandoned the devastation and exploitation of nature. In his novel, Ecotopia Emerging (1981), Callenbach even described how a growing ecological consciousness led to concrete politics that resulted in the separation of the states of Oregon, Washington, and Northern California from the rest of the United States. Such books reflected realistically events in North America and Europe during the 1970s, namely the formation of “green” movements. Moreover, the oil crisis which marked the beginning of the 1970s also led to a search for different energy sources. Consequently, atomic power was hailed as a savior from all energy problems. Protests against the construction of atomic power stations were waged across Western Europe throughout the 1970s, leading to a wellorganized peace movement by 1980. In the United States the No-Nukes movement expressed similar goals and received widespread support, particularly after the “accident” at the Pennsylvania atomic power plant on Three Mile Island in March 1978 became public knowledge. The first “green” party to gain worldwide attention was the West German Greens (Die Grünen), which was founded in 1980 and at that time consisted of a variety of protest groups, including leftists, feminists, anarchists, pacifists, and conservative farmers. Prominent members of

this anti-party party, as they called themselves, were the feminist Petra K. Kelly (Fighting for Hope, 1983) and the Marxist Rudolf Bahro. Similarly, East German Marxists such as Wolfgang Harich (Kommunismus ohne Wachstum?/Communism without Growth? 1975) and Robert Havemann (Morgen. Die Industriegesellschaft am Scheideweg/ Tomorrow. Industrial Society at the Crossroads, 1980) critiqued the report by the “Club of Rome,” offering ecosocialism as a possible solution. Such ecological and political alternatives were indirectly supported by the study Global 2000 (1980), initiated by US President Jimmy Carter. This analysis predicted a world population of 6.3 billion by the year 2000, growing desertification, rapid diminishing of natural resources, increase in the devastation of ecosystems, etc. However, the growing number of right-wing governments in the early 1980s in the “First World” and their promises for more economic “progress” quickly dismissed such warnings as apocalyptic and unfounded. The promises for “growth” were partly related to the decision of NATO in 1979 to station more strategic weapons in Western Europe. Despite massive protests by the peace movement supported by the Greens, especially in Germany, the deployment of Cruise missiles and Pershings was begun in 1982. This resulted in widespread anger and fear, and found its artistic expression in literature and films thematizing “the death of nature” as well as scenarios of an impending atomic apocalypse. Moreover, theories defining the present time in terms of “postmodernity” and posthistoire were popularized in the United States and Europe, thereby adding to a growing fragmentation of environmental politics. Nevertheless, such developments did not stop ecological parties and movements worldwide from becoming the most popular political force in the 1980s. Their peaceful and ecological politics were reinforced by disasters such as Chernobyl (1986) and Bhopal (1989), the long-term ecological consequences of which will remain unknown for many years. The 1971 report The Limits to Growth had also made obvious that the wealth of the “First World” was entirely dependent on the exploitation of the “Third World.” Political activism of the 1960s against the war in Vietnam and for the liberation of the peoples in the “Third World” increasingly grew into protests against the

215 (for example, the periodical Capitalism, Nature, Socialism) to scientific treatises such as Donella and Dennis Meadows’s and Jørgen Randers’s Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future (1992) and the “World scientists’ warning to humanity” (1992), signed by 1,575 scientists from 69 countries, as well as liberalist politicians examining the future of the planet in their books, is proof that the debate about the survival of humankind has entered a crucial stage. However, such liberalists tend to fail in their analysis of the relation between the exploitation of natural resources, consumer ideology, and population growth. Such an analysis is vital, considering the projected population growth and the impending “irreversibility” in the devastation of nature before the middle of the twenty-first century. Obviously, radical changes of this course, which has been described aptly as suicidal, are necessary. Political and economic programs based on ecological insights such as solidarity, brother- and sisterhood, and guided by the concept “fewer people, less consumption” are needed in order to avoid a relapse into the Stone Age. Similarly, a new Ethics in respect of nature, culture, material needs, and life in general, along with an educational system built on respect, tolerance, and peacefulness, is essential. The decentralization of political and economic power is a first step in order to return responsibilities to regions and local businesses, producing high-quality and long-lasting goods made by individuals who can be proud of their achievements. Similarly, alternative energy sources need to be developed, mass tourism has to be reduced drastically, and rare resources must be recycled. Overall, the industrialized countries have to move away from a society run by high-tech computers and instead have to find programs for the integration of nature and technology on a local level. Of course, such activities require much planning as well as a challenge to the right to the unlimited exploitation of nature.

Reading Bassin, Mark 1992: “Geographical determinism in finde-siècle Marxism: Georgii Plekhanov and the environmental basis of Russian history.” Bookchin, Murray 1980 (1991): Toward an Ecological Society. Bramwell, Anna 1989: Ecology in the 20th Century. A History.


devastation of the “Third World” during the 1970s and 1980s. Protests raged against the clearcutting of the rain-forest, the plundering of resources in Antarctica, the killing of whales for “scientific research,” the overfishing of the world’s oceans, the dumping of atomic and chemical waste into the oceans, etc. These activities were often led by international organizations such as Greenpeace and supported by local ecological organizations and parties. The period of unleashed economic “growth” in the industrialized counties which lasted throughout most of the 1980s added to the feeling of powerlessness, hopelessness, and apathy among many people, leading to a withdrawal from political action. Such individuals and groups generally welcomed the arrival of New Age philosophy of which the physicist Fritjof Capra (The Turning Point, 1982) was probably the most prominent figure. Not unlike the followers of “deep ecology,” their dream was to regain the unity of humankind and nature, based on the ideas of anthropocentric spirituality and biocentric equality. Moreover, such individualistic prophecies were mostly guided by the understanding that the coming of the “new age” cannot be stopped, despite the ongoing devastation and exploitation of nature. This fragmentation enabled heavy attacks worldwide on organizations such as Greenpeace by the industry and mass media. According to such accusations the only difference between Greenpeace and multinational corporations was that their “profits” were based on “selling” an ecological ideology which was untimely, unnecessary, and just as exploitative. Thus the “Earth Summit,” orchestrated by the industrialized nations in Rio de Janeiro in the summer of 1992, did not lead to any results, since the criticism of world trade and its devastating impact on the world’s ecosystem was systematically excluded from the discussion. There can be no doubt that the concepts of ecological movements and individuals so far have failed to gain influence on the ideology of “growth” and “development.” In the wake of the political changes in the Eastern bloc countries, “free market economy” again has become the dominating principle by which the exploitation of natural resources and the “Third World” is legitimized. On the other hand, the large number of publications, ranging from a “red–green” left


216 Collingwood, R.G. 1945 (1972): The Idea of Nature. Eckersley, Robyn 1992: Environmentalism and Political Theory. Toward an Ecocentric Approach. Grimm, Reinhold, and Hermand, Jost, eds 1989: From the Greeks to the Greens. Images of the Simple Life. Grundmann, Rainer 1991: Marxism and Ecology. Harten, Hans-Christian, and Harten, Elke 1989: Die Versöhnung mit der Natur. Gärten, Freiheitsbäume, republikanische Wälder, heilige Berge und Tugendparks in der Französischen Revolution. Hermand, Jost 1991: Grüne Utopien in Deutschland. Zur Geschichte des ökologischen Bewusstseins. Illich, Ivan 1973: Tools for Conviviality. Levins, Richard, and Lewontin, Richard 1985: The Dialectical Biologist. McCormick, John 1989: Reclaiming Paradise. The Global Environmental Movement. Pepper, David 1993: Eco-Socialism. From Deep Ecology to Social Justice. Tokar, Brian 1987 (1992): The Green Alternative. Creating an Ecological Future.

peter morris-keitel education The issues of cultural representation, selection, and production in education are exemplified at their sharpest by the debates on the school curriculum. Three approaches to discussions of Culture and school curricula can be characterized: (i) the derivation of curricula from analyses of culture (the cultural representation model); (ii) the critique of cultural reproduction through school curricula (the Ideology–critical model); (iii) the generation of curricula to further social justice (the cultural production and empowerment model). These approaches reinterpret a Weberian analysis of the links between culture, social status, the economic order, and the distribution of power in society (see Weber’s analysis of society in terms of Class, status, and power (1922)). During this century several attempts have been made to derive curricula from an analysis of culture. Some of these reveal the intertwining of culture and social Class. T.S. Eliot’s Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948) argues for the preservation of a “High culture” classical and academic curriculum (for example, the arts, philosophy, manners, the accumulated wisdom of the past) which is taught to a social elite and which helps to preserve an elitist society. Culture, in this definition, is a social accomplishment, a locater of class. In the United Kingdom

this was echoed in Bantock’s Towards a Theory of Popular Education (1975) in which a “high culture” curriculum was to be the preserve of a social elite while a “folk curriculum,” rather than an academically “watered down” curriculum, was to be made available to the working classes, comprising recreations and pastimes, dance, media studies, family life, affective/artistic/physical (as opposed to cognitive/intellectual) curricula, design, and craftwork. The social divisiveness of such curriculum proposals was parallelled by Mid-winter’s (1972) work in which workingclass children were to study curricula which deemphasized literacy and numeracy and which placed great store on the study of the immediate physical environment, “warts and all,” and community education. Differential access to differential curricula was seen to reproduce the societal status quo. Attempts to break the nexus of social class and school curricula have been made through moves to ensure equality of access to a common culture curriculum. Such moves adopt an anthropological rather than elitist interpretation of culture, defining it as everything that is created by humans and which is shared and transmitted by members of social groups. Cultural analysis here adopts a more neutral, descriptive approach than those designed to perpetuate class divisions. The Core Curriculum for Australian Schools (Curriculum Development Centre, 1980) comprised elements of a common multiculture – seeking a form of cultural integration which emphasized interaction between diverse groups – and an identification of core learning processes, learning experiences, and knowledge, an entitlement to which was the right of all children. In the United Kingdom Lawton’s Education, Culture and the National Curriculum (1989) provides a fuller example of a curriculum which addresses specific features of a culture. He identifies “cultural invariants” (for example, the economic system, sociopolitical system, technology system) and characterizes these in the context of contemporary England (for example, dense population, urbanized, industrialized, multicultural, secular), moving to a series of prescriptions for curricula which represent key elements of English culture (for example, studying urbanization, economic systems, multicultural education, political education, tolerance). Lawton’s work

217 curriculum, for they can engage with it easily and comfortably; for those students with limited cultural capital or different habitus the school curriculum represents an alien culture such that their uptake of it is correspondingly limited. The same curriculum, offered equally to all, produces differential outcomes which, in turn, perpetuate the societal status quo. The curriculum, therefore, performs an ideological function in reproducing cultural and social inequality under the guise of equality of opportunity, suggesting that it is natural ability rather than structural inequality which causes differential outcomes, focusing attention away from the socially reproductive effects of academic curricula. Bourdieu’s analysis resonates with Althusser’s (1972) structuralist account of education as an Ideological state apparatus which functions to prepare students in terms of ideology and knowledge to fulfill differing economic demands of capitalism. This theme is extended in Bowles’s and Gintis’s (1976) account of the operation of the “hidden curriculum” of developing personality traits which prepare future factory workers in America (1976), in a study of differential teacher expectations and interactions by social class in New Jersey schools by Anyon (1980), and in Delpit’s (1988) analysis of how “cultures of power” are reproduced in classrooms. In all of these accounts there is little opportunity for teachers and students to escape from the mechanism. In contrast to these watertight and deterministic systems, Giroux (1983) argues that schools are “relatively autonomous” institutions, that teachers are not “cultural dopes” or puppets of the state. Teachers and students can exert their agency. Recognizing this, however, renders the problems of cultural imperialism in curricula no less soluble. Cultural analysis has to engage issues of power and legitimacy in curricula and their relationship to the wider society; it requires a political analysis of the school curriculum. Giroux argues that cultural domination is as pervasive as it is insidious, and therefore teachers and students will need to seize any opportunity for resistance; they will need to look for “chinks in the armour.” This enterprise will entail a critical interrogation of curricula to question whose cultures are “named” (confirmed) and whose are “silenced” (disconfirmed) in them (Fine, 1987),


on cultural analysis over two decades, however, has been criticized for being superficial, neglectful of critique, silent on issues of power and conflict, value-laden, under-researched, consensus-seeking, and selective (Whitty, 1985). Nevertheless Lawton, in stating that the curriculum is necessarily a selection from culture, sets the ground for a fuller analysis of the problems that this selection brings. These include the problem of cultural inclusion and exclusion, the legitimacy of decision makers, and the interests which are served by such inclusion and exclusion, in short a sociology and ideology critique of school knowledge. An ideology critique of school knowledge questions the functions of school knowledge in its relationship to the wider society. Young (1971) argued that school curricula celebrated an academic culture, focusing on mental rather than manual aspects of education, being literary, individualized, abstract, and unrelated to everyday life. In the same volume Bernstein linked this to forms of social control, arguing that according high status to academic knowledge reproduced existing class and power differentials in society. Poulantzas (1975) extended this analysis by arguing that schools reproduce the mental/manual social divide in the qualifications that they award, essentially rewarding mental activity and disqualifying (not certificating) manual labor, a view that was given empirical support in Willis’s Learning to Labour (1977). That the school curriculum is tenaciously resistant to the abandonment of an academic tradition and its cultural links with state-endorsed social reproduction can be seen in Hargreaves’s references to the “hegemonic academic curriculum” (1989). Nor does simply equalizing access to an academic curriculum guarantee that the socially and culturally reproductive effects of schooling will be upset easily. Bourdieu’s powerful analysis of the school as a conservative force (1976) argues that students’ success at school is a function of their possession of “cultural capital” and “habitus” (Bourdieu, 1977) (for example, dispositions, attitudes, and motivations to learning; parental support for education; social advantage; ease in dealing with authority figures; linguistic ability; high culture). Students with the cultural capital and habitus that correspond with those in schools can maximize their uptake of the school


218 be they in terms of Race, class, gender, or subcultural membership. This endorses the message of Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972), which advocates the empowerment of currently disempowered social groups by developing literacy programs which are rooted in the concrete experiences of different cultural groups of Brazilian society. Decisions on curriculum content reflect and reinforce the power structures of society. Anyon’s (1981) analysis of American social studies textbooks found that they omitted and delegitimized (i) conflict and alternatives to capitalist economies; (ii) inequalities of power by race, class, and gender; (iii) inequalities of political and economic power. In the United Kingdom the contentious nature of the cultural content of curricula was evidenced in the debate over proposals for a history curriculum, which was seen to celebrate white, supremacist, and imperialist cultures. Apple (1993) argues that the imposition of a national curriculum in American schools disregards cultural diversity in favor of a putative, identifiable, mainstream culture. The effects of this, however, are to reproduce existing power differentials in society and to serve a wider conservative political culture of consumerism, acquisitiveness, competitiveness, and privatization which perpetuates the power of the already empowered and the disempowering of the already disempowered. Echoing Giroux, Apple argues that the proposal for a national curriculum issues from a dominant and dominating culture and is ideological in that, under the guise of serving individual freedoms, the agenda for the curriculum given by the dominant political power is not called into question. Rather, he argues, it is the conditions for cultural diversity in the school curriculum that should be guaranteed in proposals for a national curriculum. The ideology critique of Giroux’s works owes much to the Critical theory of the Frankfurt school, particularly the work of Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse. More recent analyses of the curriculum are informed by aspects of the work of Jürgen Habermas. Habermas’s threefold schema of knowledge– constitutive interests can be used to identify the interests at work in the curriculum and to suggest an agenda for cultural empowerment (for example, Grundy, 1987; Smyth, 1991). A

curriculum which is premised on Habermas’s technical interest is culturally controlled and controlling, that is, it is culturally and socially reproductive. A curriculum which is premissed on Habermas’s Hermeneutic interest is culturally reproductive in its effects (rather than necessarily its intentions) in that its concern for understanding overlooks questions of legitimacy and ideology critique. Habermas’s emancipatory interest suggests a curriculum which, through active and experiential pedagogies, interrogates the legitimacy of social and cultural determinants of school knowledge and promotes the collective empowerment of diverse cultures and subcultures in society (Morrison, 1994a). The link between critique and empowerment recharges and politically radicalizes Dewey’s progressivism for the promotion of democracy (Morrison, 1989). In this view the school curriculum becomes socially transformative rather than reproductive. It furthers social justice and the realization of collective existential futures, equalizing and redistributing power in society. Further, Habermas’s appeal to Communicative action (1984, 1987) can be seen as a means of breaking the “suppression of generalizable interests” of scientific rationality. Communicative rationality, in which interests, powers, and cultural empowerment are rendered transparent and judged by their capacity to realize the “ideal speech situation” and constraint-free communication, celebrates the cultural specificity of school curricula. In Habermasian terms, the lifeworlds of teachers and students can be “recoupled” to structural elements of society through curricula which work on and with the cultural fabric of specific societies and groups. This argues for a cultural problematization of school curricula (both formal and hidden) and the espousal of pedagogies which derive from the “ideal speech situation,” for example: cooperative and collaborative work; discussion-based teaching; activities which critically interrogate curriculum content; autonomous and experiential learning; negotiated learning; community-related activities; problemsolving activities (Morrison, 1994b). Arguing for culturally diverse curricula suggests that power to take decisions on curriculum content is diffuse and decentered. While this accords with Foucauldian notions of multiple sites and channels of power (Foucault, 1980), while it


Reading Althusser, L. 1972: “Ideology and ideological state apparatuses.” Anyon, J. 1980: “Social class and the hidden curriculum of work.” —— 1981: “Schools as agencies of social legitimation.” Apple, M.